RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that India wants to shift focus away from an “effective political struggle for freedom” in Indian-occupied Kashmir by making allegations against Pakistan, on Thursday.
“India recently claimed that 10 of their soldiers came in Pakistan’s territory and killed Pakistani soldiers. But this is all false propaganda for their domestic audience to take the focus off the effective political struggle they are facing for Kashmir’s freedom,” said Maj Ghafoor during his address at a press conference.
“You cannot lure us into such unprofessional undertakings,” said the ISPR DG, warning India against resorting to dodgy schemes.
He also commented on spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meeting with his family saying, “India will never appreciate Pakistan for the humanity it shows. Good acts of Pakistan continue to receive negative treatment in India to this day.”
“Anti-Pakistan elements will continue to thwart our systems,” he continued. “A spy who is an established terrorist on humanitarian grounds was given a chance to meet his family, this should have been appreciated. But India will never do that.”
“We had no pressure regarding Jadhav, if there was pressure, we would have agreed to consular access, it was purely on humanitarian grounds,” he said.
Responding to a question about the furore in India regarding Jadhav’s wife’s shoes, Major General Asif Ghafoor said that “The foreign office had informed India in advance that when the family arrives in Pakistan, keeping in mind current the geopolitical scenario of India and Pakistan.”
He took this moment to thank all media outlets for their sensibility of deflecting Indian propaganda by not running their “false” stories. “The media’s role is vital in fifth generation war,” he said.
The ISPR DG also spoke about the army’s presence on the borders, “We have fought well on western borders despite the threats that linger on the eastern border, but the danger has not subsided yet. On one hand, when we started action in Fata, troublemakers turned to Balochistan”.
“The army took the situation in Balochistan into account and the army chief presented the Khushal Balochistan programme on November 15. As a result, over 2,000 Baloch nationalists have given up their arms,” he elaborated on the army’s development projects in the area and also mentioned that the programmes aim is to provide resources for speedy development, security, carrying out actions against terrorism, and cleansing the region of separatist elements.
Commenting on the US’s claims regarding the presence of terrorist elements in Pakistan, he said, “No organised infrastructure of any banned organisation is present in Pakistan. We have twice fought an imposed and imported war in Pakistan and now we cannot do any more for anyone.”
“Whatever we are doing and we will do is solely for the people of Pakistan. The aid we received (from the US) was reimbursement for the support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda, had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaeda,” he added.
“There are no facilitators in Pakistan and we have gone a long way to support peace in the region,” Major Ghafoor said, reiterating Pakistan’s stance on the US’s repetitive demand for the country to “do more”.
Elaborating on this, he went on to state that, “We have started the construction of forts and posts on the Afghan border, for effective border management, what more does the US and Afghanistan want from us? It is about time that the US and Afghanistan do more for Pakistan.”
“No country is more interested in Afghan peace than us, as we know that peace there means peace in Pakistan,” he observed while adding that the US needs to look into India’s role in the Afghan region.
“No amount of coercion can work, it is only trust-based cooperation that can bring enduring peace to the region. What kind of friends are we that we are being given notices (by the US),” said the ISPR DG emphasizing that while the Pakistan army works with its friends, it cannot compromise on its respect.
He also said that Pakistan has done enough for everyone for decades and will not do more. “We cannot do more on dictation by any country,” he stated as a response to the constant threats being posed by the US. “We don’t want conflict with friends but we will ensure country’s defence”.
“Pakistan army cannot compromise on its honour. We will not fight for money against terrorism,” said Major General Asif Ghafoor.
He then shared the statistics and graphs of the number of casualties and terror attacks recorded since 2013 and stated, “We have dismantled all terror networks in FATA; I won’t say the engagement is ideal but there has been an improvement after the army chief’s visit to Afghanistan,” stressing that military-to-military engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan is of utmost importance.
“We have established state’s writ across the country, law and order situation has evidently improved in Karachi particularly,” he added.
During the press conference, the ISPR DG was asked about the Rangers’ officially distributing envelopes of money to the Faizabad protestors, to which the general responded, “ISI is an instrument of the prime minister. A two-star officer was handed the responsibility of resolving the [Faizabad protest] issue. In hindsight, there are many comments on the matter. But it was a sensitive issue and was done with the PM’s instructions.”
“Do you really think we are so naive that we would give Rs 1000 each, to the protestors? It was done to normalise the situation. That’s what is important,” he said in a lighter mood.
In lieu of a question at the media briefing, he chose not to riposte to the alleged accusations of the army’s involvement in Nawaz Sharif’s ouster. “We will continue our silence on the matter as the Pakistan armed forces are well aware of the threats and challenges we are facing and what our achievements are against them, thus we will not be distracted,” he noted.
“Political activity is going on in the country and it is for the people to decide for themselves if there is a conspiracy in the country, and if they believe there is one, they should tell us what it is,” he stated further.
He was also asked about former president Pervez Musharraf’s recent statements concerning “rogue elements” as the reason behind Benazir’s death. “I am the spokesperson for the sitting army chief and the media should ask Musharraf to defend his own statements, as of now I can say that there are no rogue elements within the Pakistan Army at the moment,” he replied.