Forget surgical strikes, even Indian drones can’t cross LoC
DG ISPR says only coalition government in Afghanistan can ensure peace Govt to decide mily courts’ fate
Pakistan Army has urged India to change its attitude of aggression towards its nuclear neighbour, stressing that neither war nor war rhetoric has ever served her interests.
In an interview with a private TV channel on Wednesday, DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said India has even seen the result of going at war with Pakistan, and if one war hasn’t changed their attitude, 100 more won’t either.
About the Indian claims of surgical strikes inside Pakistan last year, Ghafoor said how was it possible that Indian army managed to carry out a surgical strike in Pakistan when even their drones are unable to cross into Pakistan.
He added that even the Indian prime minister had said that their own public didn’t believe in these claims. “[Also] the Indian government hasn’t given the proofs of surgical strikes to even its own people,” he pointed out.
The interview was aired hours after Pakistan Army shoot down a second reconnaissance drone of Indians at the LoC in as many days.
Responding on the issue of frequent issuance of threats from Indian civilian and army leadership, DG ISPR said that Pakistan had a 70-year-old history with India in which Pakistan had always talked about peace.
“We have told India a number of times that we want to progress towards peace but India has always showed aggression. Let me make this clear, if India resorts to a war with Pakistan, then we are ready to respond to it,” he made it clear.
Talking about the successes of Pakistani security forces against terrorism, he said that Pakistan had come a long way since the start of Operation Sherdil in 2008, adding that it was a difficult journey
He said the political and military leadership joined hands to make these operations successful. He said that entire nation has made immense sacrifices in the war against terror.
Ghafoor said that it had been two years to the launch of Operation Raddul Fasad which aimed at ensuring the rule of constitution and law in the country.
“We have seen a spill over of terrorism from Afghanistan in our country,” he said, adding that the prerogative for use of force is held only with the state.
DG ISPR He said that in the last two years of Raddul Fasad, more than 75,000 secret operations were carried out throughout the country in which more than 35,000 illegal weapons were recovered.
He thanked the people of Pakistan and the political leadership for their support in making headway in this major operation.
IDPs rehabilitation and PTM demands
Talking about the fallout of military operations that resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from erstwhile Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), ISPR chief said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata not only bore the brunt of terrorism but also gave up their properties to live in camps so that military operations could be carried out.
The army spokesman said that the grievances of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) have to be resolved and they need to be provided with education and livelihood.
“The war that we are fighting now is for the rehabilitation of the people affected by terrorism. If we want to consolidate the gains in war against terrorism, we will have to focus on education”, said Ghafoor.
About the demands of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), he said that there was no objection on the fair demands of PTM.
“If Pakhtun people come out with their rightful demands from the PTM platform, we have no objection”, he said. “I’m sure their leadership wants to work for the betterment of the country and will work with the government to this end,” he added.
PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN
Asif Ghafoor said that no country wished for peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan as a peaceful Afghanistan meant a peaceful Pakistan.
“Only a coalition government in Afghanistan can ensure peace”, he said, adding that development works in Afghanistan should remain in progress even after the United States exits the war-torn country.
He said that the border with Afghanistan was 2,611 kilometres long and one of the objectives of the Operation Raddul Fasad was to fence this border.
DEFENCE BUDGET and ARMY WELFARE
Dismissing the impression in some quarters that defence budget or government land was being used in Army’s welfare projects, he said that such claims were untrue and not a single penny from these sources were used in welfare projects run by Pakistan Army.
“A big chunk from the defence budget goes back to the government in form of taxes, even the welfare organisations of the Army pay their taxes”, he said.
“The Pakistan Army meets its necessities while remaining within the budget allocated to it and no allocation of the Shuhada Package is used for the armed forces but the families of the army’s martyrs”, he added.
FATE OF MILITARY COURTS
Recounting the performance of military courts since 2015, he said that so far, 717 cases were referred to the military courts, out of which 646 cases had been decided. “345 convicts have been awarded death sentences by the military courts while 296 have been handed various sentences”, he said.
“The extension granted to the military courts is ending soon; the government has to decide whether it wants to extend their tenure or not”, he said.
No political engineering done by Army
Rubbishing the allegations levelled against Army for meddling in the elections, he said that the elections were a national activity which always brought change, and the Pakistan Army had no interference in the election process.
“In recent years, democratic system has enjoyed army’s support more than any point in the past, we wish to see political stability in the country because it results in the ultimate progress of the country”, he said.