PESHAWAR -- Peace has been largely restored across the country, Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Thursday (March 8) during the 25th passing-out parade of Frontier Corps (FC) cadets at the Scouts Training Academy Warsak in Peshawar.
A total of 608 recruits graduated at the ceremony and conducted physical training exercises and drills for attendees, who included Inspector General FC North Maj. Gen. Muhammad Wasim Ashraf.
"You are lucky to become part of a brave force that has been engaged in defending the ideological and territorial borders of the country, which is a great honour for all of you," Iqbal told the cadets.
"Those FC troops who sacrificed their lives to defend the country and protect others' lives are the real heroes of the country," he said.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, broke the back of terrorists and established the authority of the government in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Iqbal told Pakistan Forward at the ceremony.
Subsequent security efforts carried out under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, which began in February 2017, are "the final nail in the coffin of terrorism", he said, adding, "War can be fought only by states, not by an individual."
"The capacity of the FC has been significantly enhanced under the [counter-terrorism] National Action Plan, which included the establishment of new wings in the paramilitary force and the provision of basic training and modern equipment and weaponry," he said.
The government has equipped the FC with the latest technologies and weaponry through a comprehensive reform package, enabling the force to meet present-day challenges, he said.
"I am certain that the government's steps will enhance the professional competence of the FC along with that of other law enforcement agencies and will continue to play an active role in the elimination of terrorism and for establishing peace in the country," Iqbal said at the graduation ceremony.
"We are all ready to root out militancy from Pakistani soil," Amir Khan, who was awarded the Sword of Honour for overall best performance throughout the training, told Pakistan Forward. "They will not find space here anymore."
"Every young soldier is full of courage, and the cowardly enemy has no moral values to stop us," he said. "The terrorists are already on the run and defeated; we will drive the last nail in their coffin."
"The killers of children and civilians will receive no mercy, and they are bound to be crushed," Babar Rehman, winner of the Honorary Commandant Stick, told Pakistan Forward.
"It was my dream to become a soldier and crush the enemies of humanity, who did not even spare our youth at the Army Public School," he said, referring to the December 2014 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan attack in Peshawar that left more than 140 children and teachers dead.
The FC in particular has been credited as a front line force against militants, he said.
"It was my dream to be on the front line to fight these terrorists who have used the name of religion to mislead common Pakistanis," said cadet Waqar Saeed, the best marksman of the class.
"The sacrifices of soldiers and civilians speak of our bravery... terrorists can't defeat us, and we will give them a taste of our valour," he told Pakistan Forward.
"I will leave no stone unturned to defeat terrorists," Nehar-ud-Din, another cadet, told Pakistan Forward.
"We are soldiers of peace and love," he said.