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July 17, 2017

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Military spokesman brushes aside loaded questions

Military spokesman brushes aside loaded questions

ISLAMABAD: A day before the Supreme Court takes up the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report against the Sharif family, the military spokesman, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, repeatedly brushed aside exceedingly loaded questions about the allegations that the Pakistan Army played a major role in the preparation of these findings.

“The army has no direct role in the JIT,” he emphasized. The questions were too many and too long containing all sorts of accusations attributing to government leaders while the answers were too short. Primarily, the presser was arranged to announce the launch of Operation Khyber-4 under Radd-ul-Fasaad to wipe out the terrorists in Khyber Agency.

Asif Ghafoor skipped most questions on the JIT but queries were again posed on the same subject. However, he did not say what the inquisitive journalists wished and wanted him to ignite a crisis and confrontation. He was careful, cautious and brief while handling such questions.

“This doesn’t merit a response,” he retorted when a reporter claimed that it was being stated that the army conspired against the government through the JIT.When a foreign journalist asked whether the army was the driving force behind the JIT report, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief said that he has already answered this question.

Another very long question was as to why the ‘establishment’ — the army — is frequently referred to by politicians; what does this nomenclature mean, and why it is being alleged that the army chief is very strong to take action against the government. “Political talk falls in the political domain,” Asif Ghafoor said and referred to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s message he earlier read out that the military is working to restore normalcy, stability and peace.

To such questions, he reiterated that the army was focused on security duty and was busy in different operations in several parts of Pakistan. He stressed that it was the duty of every Pakistani to respect the Constitution and law.About the anti-army propaganda on the social media, the ISPR chief said no patriotic Pakistani would ever resort to it and only those elements who are under foreign influence are doing this.

At one stage while answering questions, Asif Ghafoor said the representatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence in the JIT worked honestly. The army, he said, had no direct role in this investigative body and the intelligence agencies’ nominees were included in it by the Supreme Court. “It is a sub judice matter.”

Asif Ghafoor ignored the question about the army’s response if the apex court invoked constitutional Article 190.To a question about the ISI’s role in the release of American spy Raymond Davis, the ISPR said all the state institutions were involved in it. Davis’s book like other such works had objectives to achieve, he said adding that while in Pakistan the American had claimed diplomatic immunity but later wrote that he was a contractor.

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