Islamabad: Taking a dig at Iran, Pakistan Army chief Gen Asim Munir has said that those who "backstab" the country will get a "befitting reply", days after the two neighbours conducted tit-for-tat military strikes at alleged terrorist bases in both countries.
During an interaction with students from public and private sector universities nationwide here on Wednesday, Munir mentioned about the recent missile attacks by Tehran within Balochistan and said that no one would be allowed to breach Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, The Express Tribune newspaper reported on Thursday.
"You cannot backstab us, and if you do, you will get a befitting reply," he said.
Earlier this month, Pakistan conducted "precision military strikes" against what it called "terrorist hideouts" in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province that killed 9 people. The attack was seen as retaliation to Iranian missile and drone attacks which targeted two bases of the Sunni Baloch militant group Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan's unruly Balochistan province.
Munir claimed that the insurgency in Balochistan has long been supported by Afghanistan, and the western neighbour has never shown friendship towards Pakistan.
Afghanistan was the only country that opposed Pakistan’s admission to the United Nations after independence, he said.
Referring to the Taliban-led administration of Afghanistan, the army chief warned, "Do not look towards Pakistan. We are ready to sacrifice anything and everything." "When it comes to the safety and security of every single Pakistani, the whole of Afghanistan can be damned," he said.
The army chief said Pakistan provided food for five million Afghan nationals for 50 years, but “when it comes to our children, we will pursue those who attack them”.
Pakistan has refused to negotiate with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), whose terrorist activities in Pakistan have increased manifold since the return of the Afghan Taliban to power in August 2021. Islamabad has also applied its economic leverage to force Kabul to take action against terrorists attacking on its soil from Afghanistan.
There has been an increase in militant attacks in Pakistan since November 2022, when the TTP, a close ally of the Afghan Taliban which seized power in Afghanistan, ended a monthslong cease-fire with the government.
During the interaction, Munir also ruled out reconciliation with India.
"India has not reconciled with the concept of Pakistan, then how can we reconcile with it?," he was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
The army chief briefly mentioned his recent visit to the US and stated that during the visit, he conveyed to Americans that Pakistan is a country with consequences.
"There are 80 million middle-income people in Pakistan; with 65 per cent of its population being young, the country is ready to reap benefits from these resources," he said.