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Thursday May 23, 2024

Elections on time desired by all: DG ISPR

By Muhammad Anis
June 05, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor Monday said everyone wants the upcoming genreal elections on time.

Addressing a news conference, the military spokesman said the Pakistan Army congratulates the government on completing its tenure. He said the Army should not be dragged into politics or the upcoming general elections.

"2018 is a year of changes. Political parties are (competing) against one another," he said, adding that the Army is pleased that the second (consecutive) democratic government completed its tenure. He said that security forces should not be dragged into accusations, and with time all accusations have proven to be false.

“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct the elections and the military has nothing to do with the exercise.” “The military,” he added, “will fulfil the role it has been assigned under the Constitution.”

While referring to inquiry against the ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani for violation of military’s code of conduct, the DG ISPR said Pakistan had never forgiven an army official for committing any mistake.

“The Pakistan Army had not pardoned any official whether he is Jawan or General for committing any mistake,” he said, adding that the environment in which the mistake is committed also matters.

He said one would also have to see why Asad Durrani was retired prematurely and where he had been involved.

“No one becomes an angel when he wears uniform and when he commits any mistake, he will have to face the punishment,” he said, adding that InshaAllah what happens with Asad Durrani would be shared with media.

Asif Ghafoor went on to say that Asad Durrani was prematurely retired as three-star General for political reasons. He said he never obtained a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the GHQ for writing his book.

“Had he obtained the NoC, he might not have been questioned,” he said.

The military spokesman maintained that the Pakistan Army is the institution which takes pride in its discipline. He said criticism of institutions is fine but attacks on Pakistan would not be tolerated.

“It was the same institution which took notice of views mentioned in the book attributed to Asad Durrani, summoned him to the GHQ and called explanation from him ordering a court of inquiry,” he said.

He explained that the strong reaction from the institution came because the Pakistan Army never tolerates indiscipline. “He cannot be pardoned only because he was a three-star General,” he said.

He said a court of inquiry was ordered against General Durrani after he failed to offer satisfactory answers.

“If you give judgment on a book then it reflects your wisdom and vision, but when you talk about what happened after your retirement from an institution, then it creates problems,” he said.

Major General Asif Ghafoor said General Durrani retired about 25 years back and the views he expressed in his book referred to incidents after his retirement.

To a question about allegations being levelled by an important personality that level playing field was not being provided to them and they were contesting against ‘aliens’, the DG ISPR said he would reserve his comments on such questions.

He said India continues violating ceasefire agreement despite reiteration of commitment during the recent hotline interaction between Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India. He maintained that Pakistan’s desire of peace should not be construed as its weakness, saying that despite ceasefire violations, the Pakistani forces were showing maximum restraint.

He said the Pakistan Army honoured the agreement, but the Indian security forces and the media acted irresponsibly, and ceasefire on the Working Boundary was violated by India even Sunday night. He said India has so far committed 1,577 violations on the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary this year, martyring 48 civilians and wounding 265 others. He said the Pakistan Army responds to the Indian firing when civilians are targeted.

Giving a comparison of rise in ceasefire violations by India, the DG ISPR said the 2001 ceasefire violations took place from 2003 to 2016; whereas in 2017, 1,881 violations were committed. He said 39 Pakistani civilians were martyred in ceasefire violations in 2015, 46 in 2016, and 56 in 2017.

Speaking about Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said a delegation led by Afghan national security adviser recently visited Pakistan and held meetings with Pakistani officials, including Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He said candid discussions were held between the two sides to improve bilateral relationship. He said the two sides developed an understanding that military coordination between them will improve through the working groups formed under Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace. He said the two countries realised that they are indispensible for each other.

He said Pakistan’s security forces are fencing the Pak-Afghan border to check infiltration of terrorists. He said the Pakistani forces engaged on fencing the border have been attacked from across the border, but they will continue it and complete the process. He said border fencing will prove useful for both the countries to eliminate terrorism.

About Pakistan’s relations with the United States in the context of Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said Pakistan will secure its interests at all costs and render all possible cooperation for enduring peace in Afghanistan.

Rejecting allegations of failure to act against Haqqani Network, the military spokesman categorically stated that Pakistan has carried out action against all terrorists under Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said there is no organised terrorist network, including that of Haqqanis, in the country. He said respectful repatriation of Afghan refugees is necessary for complete elimination of terrorism.

Regarding situation on the border with Iran, Major General Asif Ghafoor said coordination between the two countries has improved, leading to better situation on the frontier.

Speaking about the domestic security situation, the military spokesman said the security forces have been redeployed and realigned to make Khushhal Balochistan programme a success. He said the security forces eliminated Salman Badini, who was involved in killing innocent people from Hazara community and targeting security forces.

Commenting on Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the DG ISPR said it is a welcome development and will lead to development in the tribal belt. He said the Army has assured Manzoor Pashtin and Mohsin Dawar of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) of addressing their reservations. He said almost all of their problems had been resolved, but unfortunately, some foreign elements unleashed propaganda against the Army on social media in the guise of PTM.

He said despite acceptance of PTM’s demands, a social media campaign was started, and a cap made from outside the country was introduced into Pakistan.

Asif Ghafoor said the army chief had given strict instructions not to deal the PTM gatherings with force. He said no action has been taken against them so far.

On the incident in Wana, South Waziristan, the DG ISPR said the Mehsud tribe has fought against terrorism for years. He said a scuffle between the supporters of Manzoor Pashtin and Mehsud tribes was given the wrong colour and propaganda was instigated that a girl was killed by Army firing. He said there was no truth in the propaganda.

“We are not affected by false slogans on social media. The nation’s love for the Army has only increased in recent years,” he said.

“No Army has been as successful as Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism,” he said.

Regarding security situation in Karachi, Asif Ghafoor said the security forces have restored peace in the city rendering unmatched sacrifices. He said now the people of Karachi will have to say ‘No’ to politico-criminology mindset. He said Rangers’ operations are continuing in Punjab under Operation Raddul Fasad.

He urged the media to play their role in creating awareness among people for positive use of social media.