COAS says he believes in democracy, even more so in democratic values

Pakistan army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa

Pakistan army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa

Stressing on the need for revisiting education standards at religious madrassas across the country, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said religious seminaries must offer more than theological education to pupils. The army would continue to perform its role while national security and development remained a national obligation for all state institutions.

Gen Bajwa mentioned that presently over 25,000 Baloch students are receiving quality education at various Aamy and FC-run schools, cadet colleges all over Pakistan, while almost 20,000 Baloch youth are serving in army including over 600 as officers while 232 cadets are undergoing training at the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. Baloch youths are as capable as youths of any area of Pakistan.

Showing satisfaction over country's capabilities, the army chief said despite having enough resources, there was a need to improve the human resource. The civil service needs to be made attractive so that the top talent comes to civil service as it is the backbone of any country.

The COAS also announced establishment of MRI center at Turbat while expediting establishment of already announced educational institutions.

"Tomorrow's Balochistan will be an engine of national development effort and invaluable link from north to south and also to the west", COAS concluded.

The military previous year proposed a plan to de-radicalise religious hard-liners by "mainstreaming" some into political parties, a plan initially rejected by the civilian government but which now appears to be taking form.

Reuters adds: Gen Bajwa said he was recently told that 2.5 million students were being taught in madressahs. The COAS said it was impossible to build enough mosques to employ the vast number of madrassa students - in a reference to employment opportunities such students find in mosques as prayer leaders and teachers of the Holy Quran.

The army chief said poor education was holding back the nation of 207 million people, and especially in madressahs. "What is their future in this country?"

COAS, who was the keynote speaker at the event, addressed a large number of the audience including youth from Balochistan.

He clarified that Balochistan wouldn't develop unless its untapped resources were exploited for its progress.

He said competent and experienced bureaucrats were reluctant to serve in Balochistan.

The chief minister added that Balochistan's population was meagre luckily, and proper exploitation of resources may enable the government to give 15,000 to 20,000 rupees per month to each unemployed family.