Islamabad: Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday praised the people of Pakistan for standing up to terrorists and defying their "unfounded dictates" during the historic general elections, saying their actions reflected their commitment to moderation and rule of law.
"In these elections, people of Pakistan not only courageously withstood the threat of terrorism, they also defied unfounded dictates of an insignificant and misguided minority," Kayani said in his address to a symposium on countering the threat of IEDs.
"As a nation, our commitment to moderation, prosperity and rule of law is total and unwavering.
"We have the resolve and a firm belief to overcome the challenges towards attainment of these goals," he said.
Nearly 60 per cent of over 86 million voters participated in the May 11 polls, which swept the PML-N to power at the centre.
The campaign and the election day were marred by violence by the Taliban and some 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks.
The threat from the Taliban forced three parties ? Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement ? to curtail their campaign and also affected their performance at the polls.
However, Kayani said Pakistanis were "peace loving people" and an overwhelming majority of them are "moderate, resilient and extraordinarily hardworking".
In the recent election, the people "amply demonstrated that as a nation we can withstand any challenge", he said.
"One of these challenges is the threat of terrorism. In fighting this menace, we share the experience of many other nations.
"We have a rich experience of dealing and succeeding against the faceless enemy who employs highly innovative means of destruction," he said.
"In pursuit of global peace, we have to respond to this enemy equally innovatively while always staying a step ahead," he added.
Representatives from 28 countries are participating in the symposium, and Kayani said their participation reflected the international community`s willingness to play a greater role in the region in dealing with IEDs.
Factors like prompt availability, ease of manufacture, low
production cost, innovative use and devastating effects have made the IED a weapon of choice for terrorists, Kayani said.
The threat and impact of these weapons is not Pakistan-specific as IEDs have caused devastation at the regional and global levels.
"The recent Boston bombings involving use of homemade IED manifests the international dimension of this threat and serves as a stark reminder that even the most developed nations of the world remain vulnerable to this threat," Kayani said.
Pakistan had taken policy initiatives to counter IEDs.
The Pakistan Army`s strategy for IEDs aims at creating awareness, assisting legislation, adopting best practices from across the world, equipping forces and effectively training them, he said.
Kayani called for a comprehensive approach involving all countries of the region, and covering the complete range of possible hazardous materials to counter IEDs.
He proposed the formation of a regional military counter-IED forum supported by a wider international forum.
The historic May 11 election marked the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan`s 66-year history after PPP-led elected government completed a full term.