Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday said not even a single soldier of the Pakistan Army was conducting any kind of operation in Balochistan and the soldiers were confined to their cantonments in the province.

The army chief also reiterated his commitment to restore peace in Balochistan, saying that “a strong Balochistan guarantees existence of a strong Pakistan.”

“Balochistan is an important province where Pakistan army is playing its role for the development and prosperity of the people. We wish that children of Balochistan don’t only serve as mine workers but they gain higher posts by getting a better education,” General Kayani said while addressing Defence Day ceremony in Cadet College Sui.

He said that army would make available all possible assistance to ensure security and complete cooperation for the improvement of law and order situation in the province. He said the Pakistan Army established Chamalang Education Programme, Quetta Institute of Medical Sciences and Army Institute of Mineralogy and various other institutions in Balochistan. He said around 4,000 young people benefited from the Chamalang programme.

The COAS said the development projects from Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Sibi and Rakhni are the proof of the Army’s cooperation. He said the Army will also cooperate in the completion of Gwadar-Rato Dero road. He said the Army was also extending cooperation for providing modern weapons to the Balochistan police. “Balochistan’s development is Pakistan’s development.”

General Kayani said 20,000 Balochs are part of the Pakistan Army, adding that 12,000 Balochs have been recruited in the Army during the last three years.

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also addressed the ceremony.

Earlier in his Defence Day message, General Kayani said that the country needed the same spirit which was exhibited by the entire galvanised nation in the year 1965.

He said that September 6 signifies a milestone in the history of the motherland, when Pakistani soldiers wrote a new history of bravery and sacrifice by defending the country against the aggression of an army much larger in size and number.

General Kayani said that the exhibition of the same spirit was required now. He said, “We are a living nation, which knows how to defend its country and the enemy cannot cast an evil eye on Pakistan, if the nation remains united.”