Karachi: Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province has become a hotbed for proxy wars for regional and global powers pursuing a grand strategy as he accused foreign forces of supporting terrorism in the state, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif said.
"Foreign adversaries are more than eager to exploit any opportunity to destabilise Pakistan by harbouring, training and funding dissidents and militants," he told a seminar on peace and prosperity in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, yesterday.
He said that terrorism and militancy were being supported by foreign forces and facilitated by insiders.
Gen Sharif said issues in Balochistan were complicated by the foreign interference across a porous border spanning hundreds of kilometres. "This is a battle that we all are fighting, and we shall continue to fight till peace prevails across the width and breadth of the province," he added.
Gen Sharif said the law enforcement agencies and the people of Balochistan had defended the integrity of Pakistan with unflinching resolve.
He noted that law enforcement agencies had carried out over 2,400 intelligence-based operations in Balochistan since August, 2014 during which 204 lives were lost.
"The fact is that in the current security situation diverse and divergent interests have created complex problems in the province," he added.
He said that lack of developed infrastructure, extreme poverty, poor educational and health facilities, and rampant unemployment lend credibility to the complaints of the aggrieved section of society.
"I understand that use of force brings nothing but destruction, distress and suffering, often to those who had no part in it. Involvement of the people and state institutions, therefore, is the correct way forward for the prosperity of Baluchistan," he added.