ISLAMABAD - Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar Monday once again rejected allegations of India against Pakistan terming them baseless and invited UN observers and other independent groups to openly investigate these accusations.

In a TV interview with ARY News at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), his first interview to a local news network since assuming office, the military spokesman of the armed forces said that India can give the location of infiltrators, it they are, inside Pakistan to UN and international observers. “They should come and investigate where infiltrators and launch pads are (in Pakistan),” he said and termed all these allegations as unfounded.

DG ISPR explained that no one was needed to infiltrate into India taking into account its internal situation and that of Indian Occupied Kashmir especially. He further said that India had its own satellite technology and added, “Where is the evidence.” He further said that India had increased the strength of fence three-fold and with this infiltration was not possible.

He said that India used to level such allegations against Pakistan only to divert the attention from its internal situation and with this, the situation in the region can go towards wrong directions. “I once again reiterate that if India wants to investigate it, we are ready to get it investigated.”

Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said that this was a very serious situation the way the Indian army was behaving along the Line of Control (LoC). The India’s ceasefire violations and civilian casualties along LoC are on the rise with each passing day. In addition to that, the Indian military was levelling baseless allegation against Pakistan of infiltrating COVID-19 infected persons into India to spread the virus there, he said.

He said that the world would have to take notice of the grave situation of minorities and Muslims in India otherwise the situation would be out of control. He said that Pakistan’s communication strategy has evolved and improved over a period of time and also appreciated the role of media to take forward this strategy. “If pitch this strategy against India, the world has accepted our strategy as a responsible one,” he said.

DG ISPR said that the deployment of the Pakistan army along eastern and western borders has not affected due to its deployment in aid to civil power as part of the country’s efforts to fight against coronavirus. We have not stopped fencing activities along border rather LOC has activated more at the eastern border. “Despite all these deployments, when we were called in aid to the civil administration, we have brought out all our resources,” he said adding that this was their duty.

Responding to questions, he said that social distancing is being maintained at all levels in the Pakistan army and all other necessary measures were being taken within the institution to prevent further spread of COVID-19. He said all routine activities within the army were underway as usual. “This is a new normal, and we would have to go with this until a vaccine is invented … life must go on.” He also said that health was always a national security issue.

He said that US has appreciated Pakistan’s initiatives taken for the betterment of minorities including the opening of Kartarpur Corridor. The situation of minorities in Pakistan is opposite to India, he said adding that India tried to target minorities of Pakistan and used to initiate baseless propaganda against Pakistan. “But nobody has accepted this.”

The military spokesman said that armed forces were fully cooperating to enforce orders of the government in terms of logistics, medical support, and law enforcement as a back-up of civil administration. “On special instruction of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, we are supporting the civil administration.”

DG ISPR said that Pakistan army through its own collections has distributed 350,000 ration packages among the needy people in those districts where it is deployed. “On special instructions of COAS, we have are reached out to vulnerable communities of minorities.” He said that in the national effort to fight against coronavirus, research & development and all medical facilities of the military including labs were also being used.

Talking about the idea of establishment of NCOC, they had initially felt that national effort should be synergized and for this purpose, there should a one-window operation. “To coordinate this and best articulate this, the set-up was made.” We have used already available structures for data collection and all information is analyzed at one place which is conveyed to decision-makers. For TTQ strategy, we have used already available low tier and now a national level structured has been evolved. Now we have a bigger and better picture to move forward.”

He also appreciated the role of China to help Pakistan in fighting this disease. China has provided us every kind of equipment and has shared its experiences with us, he concluded.