RAWALPINDI: The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Thursday termed Pakistan’s brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia historic and said nobody should raise questions about them.
Commenting on the status of Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the upcoming visit to the kingdom by the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in a media briefing, Director General ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar said Pakistan was proud of its relations with the brotherly country.
"These relations are historic, very important, have always been excellent and will remain so," he said, adding that there should be no doubt about relations between two countries. He said nobody should doubt the centrality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Muslim world.
“Our hearts beat with the people of Saudi Arabia. So there is no need to raise any questions about our relations with one another,” he said.
He said the visit of General Bajwa to Saudi Arabia had already been planned relating to military-to-military engagements adding that was no need to read too much into it.
During the question answer session, been the DG ISPR rejected reports that Pakistan was realigning its interests in the region and looking to join a new block under India’s pressure.
“There is no specific re-alignment as such but yes, the world has become much more inter-connected, much more inter-dependent and much more diverse and that’s what this is all about,” he said.
He said there were no re-alignments or a new block being joined. “ Let me assure no there is no such thing,” he said.
He denied that Pakistan was seeking to joining the Russian block and leaving US friendly ties behind in view of pressures from India.
“Let me assure you that we are absolutely fine with all our neighbours in the region and our relationship with all other friendly countries is absolutely fine,” he said.
Major General Babar Iftikhar also rejected reports about Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav saying that Pakistan was only abiding by the international rules and regulations on the subject. “There is no doubt that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a terrorist who has shed the blood of innocent Pakistanis,” he said.
He pointed out that Kulbhushan was a specific case and after the World War II for the first time, a serving officer of any country was found involved in terrorist activities in another country.
He said provision of consular access was a requirement of laws of the International Court of Justice.
“Absolutely not, whatever the talk of the town about trying to enter some sort of deal on that. We are just fulfilling international obligations,” he said.
“Jadhav has already been awarded punishment. That’s a decision that has already been taken. As we proceed, I think everybody will know what will be his fate,” he said.
Major Gen Iftikhar said India was pushing the region to instability with its hegemonic practices saying the fire of racism, ethnic divide, and communal hatred, which it set had now engulfed the entire country.
“India’s attempts to externalise its failures has brought it to a point whereby this lava can sweep over the entire region’s security,” the ISPR DG said.
Major General Iftikhar said India’s spending on defence reflected its expansionist designs adding that India sat at the top in the list of countries purchasing arms and ammunition.
He also pointed out that India’s defence expenses were eight times more than the defence budget of Pakistan.
“Our defence budget is 17% of total budget and not 84% as is being given the impression,” he said.
He said Pakistan was fully aware of India’s intentions and capabilities adding that wars were not won solely on the basis of weapons.
“People’s trust and their resolve are the real assets to an army,” he said.
He said the Pakistan Army, keeping in view the country’s resources, was ready, and had the full resolve to timely respond to the enemy.
He said a recent report by the UN had identified terrorist groups in India.
“India is using these terrorist groups against neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, and especially to create instability in the region.”
“Whether it is an unsuccessful attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange or the facilitation of terrorists through money laundering, all such activities can be traced back to India,” the ISPR DG said. To a question about threats to Pakistan’s security with procurement of Rafale fighter jets by India, he said the journey of fighter jets from France to India showed their level of insecurity.
“Whether there are five Rafale jets or 500, we are fine and absolutely ready and we have no doubt about our capabilities,” he said adding that it would not make much difference.
The DG ISPR said, however, said the way India was spending on defence would disturb conventional balance, which could damage things.
“Whatever weapon or jets they procure we have our preparedness,” he said.
He said going down defence spending due to increasing inflation should not mean that there would be any lacking in defence preparedness.
“We are ready to thwart any threats,” he said.
He said the claims made in an audio tape of Ehsanullah Ehsan were baseless.
“During his detention, the information received from him helped in dismantling terrorist outfits,” he said.
He said Ehsanullah Ehsan escaped while he was being used during an operation adding that the action was being taken against those responsible.
Shedding light on the ongoing atrocities by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir and on the Line of Control, he said the worst siege in human history had been going on for a year”.
“India, with its state-sponsored terrorism, is conducting a genocide in occupied Kashmir and violating human rights in the worst possible manner,” he said.
“India, under a well-thought-out plan, is changing demography there and seeking to expel Muslims from the region,” he said. Major General Iftikhar said there was no form of oppression that the Kashmiris were not subjected to. He said the sanctity of women and children was being violated and youth were being martyred in the name of counter-terrorism and buried at unknown locations.
He said the use of pellet guns against innocent Kashmiris had become commonplace and Kashmiri leadership in the occupied territory had been imprisoned for a year.
“I salute the perseverance of brave Kashmiri people who for 73 years have been a symbol of resistance against such oppression.”
He said Pakistan had raised its voice to highlight the seriousness of the situation at every local and international forum.
“Voices decrying such injustice are now echoing in parliaments the world over,” he said.
Earlier, Major General Babar Iftikhar congratulated the nation on the upcoming 73rd Independence Day.
“Freedom is one of God’s greatest blessings. For this freedom we have, I pay tribute to the people who participated in the Pakistan Movement and its leaders, particularly Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam’s vision,” he said. “If you wish to know the price for this freedom, ask those mothers in occupied Kashmir who bury their sons’ bodies wrapped in Pakistan’s national flag,” Maj Gen Iftikhar said.
He said despite the worst siege in history, Genocide Watch, human rights organisations and international media had exposed India’s oppression and state-sponsored terrorism.
Maj Gen Iftikhar said the secretary general of the United Nations had emphasized granting of human rights in occupied Kashmir and in the recent visit to Pakistan, the UNGA president-elect said a peaceful resolution to the dispute was vital for peace in the region.
He said for the UN Security Council to take up the issue thrice in the past year was a proof of the fact that the issue is of utmost importance to the international community.
The ISPR chief expressed confidence that the people of Kashmir will secure their right to self-determination soon.
He said Pakistan had played a major role in bringing peace to Afghanistan and hoped that reconciliation efforts there will soon bear fruit.
“Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Afghanistan, peace along our western borders. If there is someone after the Afghan people who desire peace, it is Pakistan,” Major General Iftikhar said.
He said it was time now for a gradual, time-bound and adequately resourced refugee return programme for dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees within the earliest possible time frame, facilitated duly by all stakeholders”.
To a question about new Pakistan’s map release by the government, the DG ISPR said it was assertion of country’s claim and an expression of our intent.
“We have made it clear to it is our territorial claim where there is a dispute and it is our political map,” he said, adding it was re-assertion of Pakistan’s claim.
The DG ISPR further said 90% work had been done on fencing at the Pak-Afghan border in KP adding that Pakistan never crossed into the Afghan side.
“Any issue during fencing was resolved during immediate meetings and that is why fencing of the border is moving forward swiftly,” he said.
To a question, he said the internal security situation was much better and satisfactory and there was no more organized terrorist network in the country.
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