Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday said the country is at a “crossroad” in its fight against extremism and must decide whether it wants to enjoy the benefits of its young demography or suffer at the hands of terrorism.
Bajwa said the army would defeat terrorists but needed the support of the nation to wipe out extremism from the society.
“We are standing at a crossroads. Ten years down the line, we will either be enjoying the fruits of a youth dividend or suffering at the hands of a youth bulge, especially with the youth which remains vulnerable to extremism,” he said. “A youth driven towards extremism is a youth without a clear idea of his values and identity.”
He said the youth in Pakistan is getting exploited due to “poor governance” and “lack of justice” in society.
“Our challenges are very real but there are positive sides to the picture as well. Not only have we survived the worst onslaught of terrorism in modern history, we have reversed the tide. In fact, security has now achieved conditions to help development take off,” he said.
He also accused “enemies of Pakistan” of waging war against the country. “Our enemies, both state and non-state, are actively pursuing divisive tendencies in society. Let me say that they are waging the biggest and most sustained ‘Hybrid War’ against us from multiple directions and using multiple ways,” he said.