Wednesday September 22, 2021

War on terror victory impossible sans public support: ISI chief not being replaced, says ISPR DG

February 23, 2021

RAWALPINDI: Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar Monday categorically rejected reports circulating on the social media about appointment of new director general (DG), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“These are baseless speculations and there is no truth in what is circulating on the social media,” he said while responding to a question at the media briefing. The Pakistan Army spokesman was asked to comment on reports on the social media with regard to transfer of DG ISI Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed and appointment of ex-DG ISPR, Lt-Gen Asif Ghafoor, as his successor. “There is no truth in reports and there is also no need to speculate further,” the DG ISI said.

He said appointments against any senior posts in the Pakistan Army were not short lived and appointment as head of any institute is appointment for at least two years. Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed was appointed as DG ISI on June 16, 2019 and he is yet to complete two-year in his current office.

Addressing a news conference on completion of four years of the operation Raddul Fasaad, he said significant achievements had been made in all domains of the operation during the last four years.

He said the action reduced capability of terrorists to execute their terrorist plans and destroyed their infrastructure to ensure durable peace across the country. He said the operation was launched with strategic intent of stable, strong and peaceful Pakistan, where confidence of people in the state is restored and freedom of action of terrorists is curtailed to make them completely ineffective.

The DG ISPR said the security forces carried out the operation under two-pronged strategy of counter-terrorism and counter violent extremism with the support of people, which has produced positive results in various areas. He said success in the operation against terrorists was not possible without active support of the public. “The Raddul Fasaad is not area specific; it covers the whole country with support of people and civil agencies,” he said adding that the nation had gone a long way to achieve objectives of the operation, but a lot of ground is still to be covered.

He told a questioner that they were also alive to the upcoming challenges, particularly in the shape of hybrid and fifth generation war. “Let me assure you that we will overcome these challenges with the support of the nation also,” he said.

With this spirit, the military spokesman said the Pakistan Day parade on March 23 would be held with national enthusiasm with the motto ‘Aik Qaum Aik Manzil’ [One nation, one destination].

To a question, he said a lot of work had already been done in addressing reservations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “Our achievements have been acknowledged at every forum and it is hoped they will also be acknowledged at this forum,” he added.

He said while the armed forces fight terrorists, terrorism and extremism can only be defeated by the law-enforcement agencies and society as a whole.

Giving details of the operation and its results, Babar Iftikhar said a total of 375,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) were carried out across the country since the start of the operation in 2017. He said the state writ was restored over 7,500 square kilometres through the operation.

The DG ISPR said 353 terrorists were killed and hundreds of others were arrested during the operation while 456 officers and jawans of security forces also sacrificed their lives.

He said most of the over 5000 threat alerts were neutralised before their materialisation during the last four years while over 72,000 illegal weapons and five-million ammunition were recovered. He said 497 border posts were set up. He said demining was also carried out in tribal districts.

Under capacity enhancement of law-enforcement agencies, Major General Babar Iftikhar said 58 new wings of FC were raised and 15 others will be established, while police and Levies personnel were also trained. He said 96 per cent temporarily displaced persons have returned to their homes.

The DG ISPR said that lot of progress has been made in the National Action Plan (NAP), which was made in whole of nation approach, but it was time taking process. He said 717 cases were referred to the military courts while 344 terrorists were awarded death sentence in these cases, and 58 of them were implemented and 106 other terrorists were given life imprisonment.

Babar Iftikhar said over 1,200 sub-nationalists have laid down their arms before security forces. He said spread of hate-speech was also controlled considerably.

He said the initiative of Paigham-e-Pakistan has considerably helped control extremism in the country, and the religious scholars have played an important role in this regard. He said under de-radicalization, over 5,000 people have been reintegrated in society.

The DG ISPR Operation Raddul Fasaad contributed a lot to improve law and order situation in Karachi as well. He said the city's position on Crime Index has dropped from sixth in 2014 to 106 today.

He said the Raddul Fasaad was launched at a time when terrorists, after seeing destruction of their infrastructure in tribal areas, tried to take refuge in different areas of the country.

The major general said after major operation, different areas were cleared of terrorists and writ of state was restored in tribal areas. “The RuD is part of ‘build and transfer phase and the objective is to make hard-earned gains as irreversible,” he said. He said only the state has the right to use power against extremists, and not any individuals.

Major General Babar Iftikhar said that journey from terrorism to tourism was extremely difficult and painstaking and today cricket grounds are full while Gwadar, Northern Areas and K-2 are focus of the world.

To a question, he said that Pakistan has been playing a positive role as facilitator in Afghan peace process which was also being acknowledged. “Now the new US administration has announced reviewing the process but there are all reasons to be optimists as to how the things are advancing,” he said.