ISLAMABAD: DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan is the only success story in the world in the war against terrorism.
In an interview with a private television channel on Wednesday night, the military spokesman observed what the armed forces with the support of state and people achieved in the last two decades has been unprecedented in the world. “We want to tell the world and they should also hear that achievements we have made in the war against terror are spanning over two decades,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
He said that three tiers including the state, people and armed forces jointly fought the war against terrorism, which was the main reason behind unprecedented success. “The United States also acknowledges our success while Pakistan’s success story is also taught as case study in many institutions,” he said.
The DG ISPR also gave credit of the success against terrorism to the military leadership starting from the year 2000. “Now General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s leadership is moving forward to consolidate our successes,” he said.
Major General Asif Ghafoor pointed out that the main objective of Operation Raddul Fassad, which has been in progress for the last two years is to bring normalcy to the country having ‘Rule of Constitution’ in the country where prerogative of violence rests with the state.
To a question about the role of Pakistan Army in politics, the military spokesman maintained that the army wanted to see political leadership in the country. “We have achieved unprecedented successes against terrorism in the country in the last two decades and will not take such a step, which can derail the country from path to progress, “he said adding that in the last few years, Pakistan Army had extended more support to the democratic system.
He pointed out that general elections are political process for change in the country saying elections bring change. “How can we have hand in it when we hardly could spare time for our families while fighting against terrorism,” he said.
About an extension in period of military courts which is going to end in March this year, Major General Asif Ghafoor said the final decisions would be taken by the government. He pointed out that the military courts came into being through an Act of Parliament and would be extended if the government feels that the military courts are required.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Interior referred 717 cases of terrorists to the military courts since their establishment. In these cases, 345 terrorists were awarded death sentence and 55 of them have been executed while 656 miscreants were awarded other sentences and five were acquitted due to lack of evidences. “The military courts have proved good deterrence against terrorism and resulted in bringing down the graph of acts of terror,” he said.
To a question about threats from India’s political and military leadership, the DG ISPR said such threats would serve the purpose of deteriorating relations between the two countries and having negative impact on the region’s peace. “Pakistan always talks about peace and talks while India talks about war,” he said.
Major General Asif Ghafoor once again inviting India to the table said it was India which always escaped from talks. He pointed out that there is history of tense relations between Pakistan and India mainly due to the unresolved Kashmir issue.
He reminded India that Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be misconstrued as its weakness. “We are a strong state and strong army having capacity and capability to thwart any misadventure,” he said.
Moreover, he said there is an election year in India where anti-Pakistan slogans are used in election campaign there. “But this does not happen in Pakistan,” he said. To another question, the military spokesman said the Indian prime minister himself admitted that his people also did not believe that their army troops carried out surgical strike in Azad Kashmir. “Surgical strikes are not carried with claims or mere verbal talk,” he said adding how surgical strikes which never happened could be admitted.
To a question, the Director General ISPR said that Pakistan Army followed a very strict accountability against financial irregularity or any other act of indiscipline saying situation could improve a lot if even half of it is implemented in civil institutions. “So far 412 officers from the most junior rank to the general rank in the last one year have been punished on different charges,” he said.
Major General Asif Ghafoor said if any officer retires from service and becomes public office holder and then he should also face the accountability like others. He rejected an impression that there was any media censorship in Pakistan saying that media in this part of the world is enjoying more freedom than any other country. “There is difference between censorship and responsible reporting,” he said adding that media is a strong pillar of state and armed forces enjoyed big support from it in war against terrorism.
He pointed out that voices of censorship on media was coming from outside the country. To a question about any appeasement policy towards organization Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), he said there would be no harm if non-violence and legitimate demands come from PTM. “We want to heal wounds of people who suffered most in the war in the last two decades,” he said.
He expressed hope that PTM leadership would use government’s channel to put forward their demands. “We want to fight against poverty and work for rehabilitation and will have no objection to their legitimate demands,” he said.
To a question about peace in Afghanistan without America, he said Pakistan was playing role of reconciliation for peace in Afghanistan because a stable Afghanistan is in interest of Pakistan. “We wish that the United States leave Afghanistan as friend of the region and development works should continue there,” he said.
About misconception regarding DHA and other welfare projects of armed forces, he said not even a single penny from defence budget or even single inch of state land is used for DHA housing schemes.
He pointed out 99.5 percent employees of DHA are civilians or retired army officers or personnel while a major portion of earnings from welfare projects are used for upkeep of heirs of Shuhada.
About defence budget, the DG ISPR that 95 percent of allocations are spent on obligatory expenses saying that particularly in view of devaluation of Pak rupee, it was insufficient but appropriations are made in defence budget which is 18.5 percent of total volume of federal budget.
To a question about Kulbhushan Jadev, the Indian spy, he said he was awarded death sentence and his mercy appeal is with the army chief. “The case is also with the International Court of Justice and let us see what decision they taken,” he said.
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