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January 12, 2021

Absolutely no backdoor contact with PDM: ISPR

Top Story

January 12, 2021

Absolutely no backdoor contact with PDM: ISPR

RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar Monday said the military was subordinate to the government and was totally apolitical having absolutely no backdoor contact with the opposition parties as was being speculated in the media.

Addressing a press conference here, General Babar said neither the military needed to indulge in politics nor should any attempt be made to drag it into politics. “Such allegations without any facts and which carry no weight should not be responded to,” he said.

Responding to another question, he said the PDM leaders would be offered tea and water (Chai and Pani) if they marched towards Rawalpindi. The questioner wanted the military’s reaction to a statement of the PDM head Fazlur Rehman in which he threatened to march towards Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

“Obviously, they do not need to come to Rawalpindi, but if they come, we will offer them ‘Chai Pani’,” he said. Gen Iftikhar further said the opposition parties’ criticism of the military was "baseless" and that the government had given a suitable response to their statements.

"The military is doing its job despite all that is being said about it. Our concern [regarding the targeting of the armed forces] is separate," he said. "The government of that time had asked the army to conduct elections and the military followed their orders with honesty and to the best of its ability," he said, clarifying that there had been no rigging in the 2018 elections.

"Even if they(the opposition parties) have doubts about it (the result of the election), they can approach the respective institutions," he suggested.

"To level allegations is not right. The army is subservient to the government and the government has responded to these allegations in a better way," he said. Here, he observed, all the institutions are functioning and if anybody has any reservations, they should move the institutions which take decisions,” he added.

General Babar spoke at length about the achievements of security forces in the war on terror in the last 20 years saying particularly the last 10 years were very challenging. “The last 10 years were a challenging time in every aspect for Pakistan, but in 2020 alone the coronavirus pandemic and locust attack put the country’s food security and economy in severe danger,” he said, adding that despite all these challenges, the state, institutions, the armed forces and intelligence agencies, and most importantly the Pakistani people faced those challenges with a united front.

He pointed out that Pakistan fought a successful war against terrorism in the last 20 years and acted as a responsible state. He said over 1,200 operations were conducted to root out terror outfits in which over 18,000 terrorists were killed and over 1,100 al Qaeda terrorists were killed or nabbed and Pakistan shared intelligence with 70 countries.

During this period, he said Pakistan gave sacrifices of more than 83,000 people and suffered a loss of $126 billion. General Babar said the aggressive activities of Indian troops increased on the eastern border, as 28 civilians were martyred and 257 injured in 3097 ceasefire violations (CVFs) during the year 2020.

“More number of CVFs (3351) were reported in 2019, while 377 casualties were reported in 2018,” he said. General Babar said the Pakistan Army always responded effectively to the Indian aggressions; however, after failing in Kinetic Threat, India started non-Kinetic Domain or the fifth generation war. “The Army Chief has also been talking about the challenge of the fifth generation war,” he said.

He said as Pakistan fought a successful war against terrorism, it was India that increased provocative actions on the eastern border and had also been committing worst human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir while laying siege to the valley for the last one and a half years.

“In the meantime, India also made a failed attempt of aggression against Pakistan in February 2019,” he said. Gen Babar pointed out that the international institutions had also exposed the true face of India.

In this connection, he referred to a report of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which revealed that 44 Indian banks were involved in terror financing and money laundering. He said Genocide Watch had also mentioned India’s worst state terrorism and human rights violations in the IOJ&K.

General Babar listed more of India's illicit activities in this period, including Kulbhushan Jadhav's assignment to Pakistan, the farmers' protest in Indian Punjab, the noxious verdict in the Babri Mosque case, the EU DisInfo Lab's report and the UNHRC's damning findings of genocidal Indian activities in the IOJ&K.

He delved into the revelations of the EU DisInfo Lab's 'Indian Chronicles', highlighting the role of companies like AGLAYA, which are tied to the Indian intelligence agencies. He said according to the EU DisInfo Lab report, the whole fake network was being run by Delhi-based Srivastava Group, which through fake NGOs and think tanks and bogus media had been running this activity for the last 15 years.

Through fake NGOs, the network organised anti-Pakistan events and demonstration at the UN and UNHCR to damage the repute of the country through the motivated content. “All the motivated content was published through the Chronicle and other fake media,” he said, adding that to maintain legitimacy, the content was made viral on the fake media through the Indian news agency ANI and carried by the mainstream media and social media as a true story.

He said the key actors belonged to ‘AGLAYA’ of RAW, which had expertise in cyber intelligence and banking. "If we examine this 15-year campaign, it hurt Pakistan's international standing quite badly. Pakistan was targeted in six different domains, including terrorism, economy, diplomacy, internal conflict, Kashmir and social issues," he said, adding that all that was being done with the Indian state backing it.

"This should serve as a call for action for decision-makers to put in place a relevant framework to sanction actors and governments abusing international institutions, influencing decision-makers and misleading the world opinion," he said. The DG ISPR said according to EU DisInfo Lab, the impacts of the campaign fell in category 6 of policy level and extremism if gauged in categories 1 to 6.

He said the EU parliamentarians were invited to visit the IOJ&K in personal capacity, but they were portrayed as the EU representatives. He said in addition to security challenges, locust attack and Covid-19 pandemic remained a serious threat to Pakistan's economy and food security.

He said the state of Pakistan, all national institutions and the people of Pakistan collectively faced all these challenges successfully. Talking about the steps taken along the western border, the military spokesperson said socio-economic development projects were also launched in the area and coordinated measures taken to secure the Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran border.

Highlighting the measures taken in the security domain, General Babar said the achievements in the last one decade were consolidated by adopting 'whole of nation' approach under the Operation Radd-ul-Fasad. He said terrorists' support base, their facilitators, abettors, and financiers were eliminated.

“With the grace of Almighty Allah, today no organised terrorist infrastructure exists in Pakistan. Over 3,71,000 intelligence-based operations were conducted under Radd-ul-Fasad,” he said.

General Babar said terrorist incidents had declined by 45 percent, law enforcement agencies averted over 50 percent terrorist threats in last one year, while suicide attacks reduced by 97 percent.

Talking about the law and order situation in Karachi, he said the city was at number six on the World Crime Index in 2014 and now it had come down to 103, showing improved situation compared with the leading capitals of the developed world.

He said Karachi was now witnessing 95 percent decline in incidents of terrorism, 98 percent in target killing, 99 percent in extortion, and 98 percent in kidnapping for ransom.

As for border management on Pakistan's frontier with Afghanistan and Iran, Gen Babar said the security situation had been significantly improved through various steps like border terminals, scanners, biometric systems, border posts and fencing.

He said 83 percent fencing of 2,611km border with Afghanistan had been completed while the rest of fencing was likely to complete by the mid of the current year.

He said over 37 percent fencing had been completed along the Pak-Iran border. He said over 482 out of 1,068 planned forts had so far been constructed on the western border. As a result of border control measures, cross-border movement through border terminals has witnessed an increase of 33 percent, taking the revenue receipt in last six months to Rs48 billion.

“This is a project of Pakistan government and not of Pakistan Army and nobody can dare root out the fencing,“ he said while responding to a question about threats being hurled to dismantle fencing.