Pakistan does not want conflict with ‘friends’: Army
ISLAMABAD – The Army on Thursday responded to United States’ demand of more action in the fight against terrorism, saying it was the time that the US and Afghanistan “do more” as we have done enough for everyone over the decades.
“It is time Afghanistan and the US do more for Pakistan,” said Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor at a briefing on achievements during the year 2017 and on the national and regional security situation.
Afghanistan and the US accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and granting them access to safe havens on the Pakistani side of the mostly unsecured border. In response, the DG ISPR said: “The US and Afghan authorities are well aware that Pakistan tackled the Haqqanis too. The allegations are no more valid.”
The DG also clarified that there was “no organised infrastructure of any banned organisation in Pakistan. We have fought an imposed and imported war twice in Pakistan and now we cannot do anymore for anyone.”
“The aid we received (from the US) was reimbursement for the support we provided 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.
He said: “We don’t want conflict with friends but we will ensure country’s defence,” he said on the constant threats being posed by the US.” He said Pakistan army cannot compromise on its honour. We will not fight for money against terrorism.”
He asked the US to check Indian role in Afghanistan and in the region and said that no country is more interested in peace in Afghanistan because we know peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan.
Ghafoor said that fencing at the Afghan border was going at a pace of one and a half kilometre every day and by 2018 we will complete this task. He referred to army chief’s visit to Iran and said that Tehran had also started fencing on its side after the visit.
Talking about Indian claims of unilateral action against Pakistan, he said that our armed forces are fully prepared to meet any eventuality. The armed forces just want support and solidarity of the nation to thwart any designs against the country.
“India wants to divert attention from atrocities in the occupied Kashmir thus they continue malpractices but Pakistan will continue fighting for the right of the Kashmiri people,” he said.
Talking about Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meeting with his family on humanitarian grounds, he said: “India will never appreciate Pakistan for the humanity it shows. Good acts of Pakistan still continue to receive negative treatment in India.”
Responding to questions about the allegations of conspiracy from the family of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he said: “We will maintain our silence on the matter as Pakistan’s armed forces are well aware of the threats and challenges we are facing and our achievements against them thus we will not be distracted.”
“Political activity is ongoing. 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 termed the statement of Railways Minister and a key member of the ruling PML-N Khawaja Saad Rafiq about junior officers’ apparent lack of commitment to army chief’s orders as “extremely irresponsible and unwarranted.”
“The Pakistan Army is a disciplined institution and the army chief’s orders are followed without question,” he added.
Talking about Balochistan, he said that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has proposed “Khushal Balochistan programme” for the uplift of masses. The programme, he said, includes four major points that included enhancing progress of the ongoing development work, provision of security, action against terrorists and dealing with secretariats and miscreants.
He said Rs60 billion would be allocated for the programme. “As a result of the programme, over 2,000 Baloch nationalists have given up their arms,” he said.
The military’s spokesman also shared details of actions taken against terrorists during the year and said that today’s Pakistan was much safer. There was only one terrorism-related incident occurred in Karachi during the current year, he added.
He said that a large number of attacks have been averted. “Thanks to our intelligence agencies, we have been able to avert 483 attacks in 2017 alone and 254 were averted in K-P and FATA.”
DG ISPR said that through Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan has tried to eliminate terrorism and will continue the efforts.
“We have dismantled all terror networks in FATA,” said Ghafoor while sharing statistics and graphs of number of casualties and terror attacks recorded since 2013.
He said that “96 percent of IDPs have returned to their homes.”
Talking about the socio-economic developments in KP and FATA, “800km roads were planned by the army for FATA and K-P, 730km have been completed and the rest will be too.”
The roads start from areas in North Waziristan to facilitate people and to trade of fruits and vegetables easier, he said.
NO ROGUE ELEMENTS IN ARMY
When asked about former president Pervez Musharraf’s recent statements regarding “rogue elements” being responsible for Benazir’s death, Maj Ghafoor said, “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.”