Improve India ties: Pakistani Army Chief Bajwa

In an extraordinary gesture, Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has urged the country’s lawmakers to try and improve relations with India, assuring them the Army’s support. His address comes in the backdrop of sustained US pressure on Pakistan’s leadership to mend ties with India.

“The military is ready to back the political leadership’s initiative for normalisation of relations with India,” Gen Bajwa told lawmakers at the senate committee of the House during his first appearance before a parliamentary forum.

Gen Bajwa was invited by senate chairman Raza Rabbani for the meeting and was accompanied by Inter Services Intelligence chief Naveed Mukhtar and top military officers, Major Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza and Major Gen Asim Munir. The session lasted nearly four-and-a-half hours.

Quoting senators, leading Pakistan daily Dawn said Gen Bajwa told legislators that he wanted relations with all neighbours to be normalised and urged politicians to try to improve ties with India. The army chief ’s offer is particularly significant given the general perception that the army was against peace efforts with India. But Gen Bajwa said a large part of Indian military deployment was mostly against Pakistan. He also accused India of fomenting instability and terrorism in Pakistan, stating that New Delhi had developed a strong nexus with Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security.

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