Addressing a passing out parade of graduating cadets at Kakul on Saturday, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani assured the nation that despite its current focus on a daunting internal challenge, the Pakistan Army was fully capable of facing any external threat. Without naming anyone, but referring to the angry outburst of Indian leaders about an alleged cross-border raid by Pakistani forces, he said that notwithstanding such harsh statements, Islamabad kept its cool since maintaining peace was its priority; for peace alone could deliver the dividend of progress and prosperity for the country. However, that should not be taken as a sign of weakness, he warned. The country’s strength lay in the unity of the people. And if the army and the nation stood united, “no harm can come to Pakistan.”

General Kayani told the new entrants to the army, “let me remind you that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam can never be taken out of Pakistan.” It is all the more necessary for the younger generations to contemplate deeply the impact of this fact of history, especially against the backdrop of the socio-political atmosphere of utter disarray in the ranks of the people that prevails in Pakistan today. It is highly unfortunate that local and regional sentiments and ethnic and tribal alliances seem to be directed towards agendas of their own, regardless of the fact whether these agendas gel with the over-all objectives and interests of the country. On a broader plane, there is no other religious community in the world today that is so badly divided as the Muslim world, constantly subject to a feeling of self pity and victimisation, without introspection as to its causes and consequences. There is an urgent need for the people of Pakistan to get together on a common platform i.e. the development of the country and good of the people and considering their religious orientation there is, perhaps, no other factor than Islam that can unite them in the short term.

One would wish that the golden advice that the COAS gave to the young military officers is also carefully listened to by the public at large. He said, “Be ambitious; there is nothing wrong with it, but the only way to achieve your ambitions is hard work. There is no short cut to it. Do have a dream and always aim high.” That is why thinkers and seers have counselled mankind to ‘daydream’ about achieving glories in the time to come but not leave it at that; work hard till you have turned your dream into a reality.