–ISPR DG says legal action would be taken against Pashtun movement, alleges leadership of getting funds from NDS and RAW
–Says Gen Bajwa has given instructions to take legal action against PTM
–Says govt and military working to bring seminaries into national mainstream
–Warns India against war mongering, says it should understand that ‘this is not 1971’
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army on Monday said that it would make all-out efforts to resolve the issues faced by Pashtun community residing in the tribal districts, but warned the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leadership that the military won’t tolerate the group anymore if it continued expressing their grievances [against the state institutions] in such a manner.
In a press conference held in the afternoon at the General Headquarters covering a wide array of issues, including India, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor alleged that the PTM had received funding from Afghan and Indian intelligence services.
Ghafoor said that the military would do everything for the people living in the tribal belt, but those who are playing in the hands of [other] people, “their time is up!”
He said as per the instructions of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, all actions [against the PTM] would be in the ambit of the law. “Everything will be done lawfully.”
“You have enjoyed all the liberty that you wanted to,” he said, addressing the PTM leadership.
Responding to the demands that the Manzoor Pashteen-led outfit makes in its public rallies, the military spokesperson said he had met with [PTM leader and MNA] Mohsin Dawar, and they had three demands.
He said the army created 48 teams to de-mine the area and 45 per cent of these areas were cleared. The process of demining cost the army 101 casualties. PTM says that mines and unexploded bombs still exist in tribal areas.
The second demand was the clearing away of the checkposts, he said, adding that the army lost hundreds of soldiers at these checkposts.
“[The issue of] missing persons were their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases,” he said.
Ghafoor said he was the first person to engage with the PTM on the orders of the army chief, who advised him against using any harsh treatment to the movement.
“On the PTM website, they have got a number that states the amount of funds they have collected from Pashtuns around the world. But tell us how much money did you get from the NDS (Afghan National Directorate of Security) to run your campaign? How much money did RAW (India’s Research and Analysis Wing) give you for the first dharna in Islamabad?
“[Superintendent of Police] Tahir Dawar is killed in Afghanistan, in what capacity did PTM talk to the Afghan government, and say that the [Pakistani] government should not be handed the body and the body should only be given to the Dawar tribe?”
SP Dawar was abducted in Islamabad and after a three-week period, his dead body was found in Afghanistan near the Pak-Afghan border. TTP had claimed responsibility.
The army spokesperson also said: “Why did NDS give you funds for Arman Loni’s funeral and the dharna that followed? If you have these funds, why do you not use these funds for the development?”
“When Arman Loni died, funeral prayers were offered for him in Afghanistan. But how is it that when 10 policemen lost their lives trying to protect 800 students giving police entry exams [in Balochistan], you did not go to the namaz-e-janaza for those 10 men. And no namaz-e-janaza was held for those 10 men in Afghanistan.
“When Loni died, the Afghan prime minister gave a statement in his favour and you [PTM] endorsed it.
“Those people who are playing with the people whose issues they have brought forward, I would like to tell them that their time is up. Their time is up.
“I would like to ask the PTM to provide me with another list, besides the one of the missing persons, of all the strength of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that exists in Afghanistan, so that I could tally the two to see if any of the missing persons are actually sitting there.”
He then delivered a message in Pushto to the Pushto-speaking people, urging them to not be deceived by the people functioning against Pakistan’s interests.
INDIA SHOULDN’T TEST PAKISTAN’S RESOLVE:
Gen Ghafoor also sent a message to the Indian government and military forces not to test the resolve of Pakistan army and nation.
“We gave a befitting reply to Indian aggression on February 27 and we can do it again,” he said, adding that Pakistan Army did everything in broad daylight, unlike India.
“India is lying constantly for last two months,” he asserted.
Ghafoor further stated that India must understand that this is not 1971. “This is not the same force nor the same circumstances,” he said, adding that today Pakistani media is strong and highly functional which can show the true face of India to the whole world.
The director general further said that India must have the courage to show the truth to India just like Pakistan. “We showed everything to media including international and local as we took them to those sites. “India should also show their side to media so that everyone can know the reality,” he said.
“We can also take Indian media to Balakot if they want,” he said.
While talking about the security situation of Pakistan, ISPR DG said that in the last four decades the situation has changed immensely. “Our young generation has just seen terrorism in Pakistan and they don’t know that this country was a prosper and progressing country,” he said, adding that due to many issues like Afghan war and Iranian Revolution the whole situation and circumstances changed.
“This whole scenario and changes led to terrorism in Pakistan and to tackle that Pakistan forces did countless operations over the years,” he said, adding that due to these kinetic operations, there are no terrorist networks are operational in Pakistan today.
“We have not only done the operations but also shared the intelligence with almost 70 countries regarding terrorism,” he said.
Talking about militant organisations in the country, he stated that decision to take action against these outfits was taken in 2014. “It was decided under National Action Plan (NAP) when there was no external pressure including FATF or other international bodies or Pulawama attack,” he said, adding that this was decided for the betterment of the whole society.
“It is a long process because there are over 30,000 madrassas in Pakistan and the number has increased from 2,000 in 1979-80,” he said.
“There are 2.5 million children studying in these institutions and they are part of the society and need to be mainstreamed,” he said, adding that government and Pakistan army have been taking steps for this.
“After much deliberation and meetings with the Ulemas of every sect, the government has decided to bring all these madrassas under Ministry of Education,” he told media, adding that this will be done in steps.
“The government has decided to implement a new curriculum in these institutions where religious and other subjects will be taught,” the director general said. “There will be one thing absent from this and that is hate speech.”