RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor held a press briefing on Thursday, calling on the US and Afghanistan to do more.
The military spokesman also spoke about Indian aggression along the Line of Control (LoC).
Major General Ghafoor termed federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique’s statement about the army irresponsible.
‘Saad Rafique’s statement is irresponsible’
Referring to an earlier statement given by Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Gen Ghafoor said the statement by the minister “doesn’t appear to be unintended”.
“The statement is very irresponsible and unwarranted as you are targeting the chain of command and the subordination system of Pakistan Army,” said the military spokesperson.
Rafique, while addressing a ceremony marking his father’s anniversary earlier, had praised the army chief for briefing the Senate and had said it was a confidence-boosting move for everyone.
The minister had said that there was no difference in the narrative and added that the army chief had talked in favour of democratic norms and continuity.
However, the minister had said others should also support the army chief’s stance on whom “his command is applied to”.
“They should also follow that order,” said Rafique and added that those who do mischief should also support the army chief.
The military spokesman added the Army is a very disciplined and organised institution and “if this discipline and subordination is not present in the Army, it would not be the best in the world”.
“Pakistan Army is an institution which takes pride in its institutional mechanism.”
He further said, referring the minister’s statement that it was taken with concern.
“There are some institutions which are also protected by the Constitution,” adding the statement was in violation of the Constitution.
“If the Army is determined and confident to stay within the bounds of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of every citizen to respect the law and the Constitution and stay within its bounds.”
Rafique on Thursday evening said his statement regarding the Army earlier was presented out of context by certain media channels.
He also said that DG ISPR is a sincere individual and he was saddened by Gen Ghafoor’s statement and added that he plays a silent role for cohesiveness among state institutions.
He further stated that it is not appropriate that out of a 27-minute long speech only a few words are picked and played up and he has never adopted an irresponsible or unconstitutional stance.
The railways minister also said that he has never targetted the subordinate system and can neither think of doing so.
India does not want Pakistan to succeed in war on terror
Major General Asif Ghafoor said India did not want Pakistan to succeed in the war against terrorism and had increased ceasefire violations across the LoC in 2017.
“52 civilians were martyred and 254 injured [in the 1,813 violations],” Maj Gen Ghafoor said.
The military spokesman added that India had falsely claimed on December 25 that their soldiers had entered Pakistan and killed Pakistani soldiers.
The Army spokesman stressed this was false propaganda being created by India for their domestic audience to divert focus from the effective struggle they were facing for Kashmir’s freedom.
“While our political, diplomatic and moral support continues and will continue for the just struggle of our Kashmiri brothers, you cannot lure us into unprofessional undertakings to reinforce your beaten narrative of our physical interference in occupied Kashmir.”
He also added that the “US needs to check the anti-Pakistan Indian role not only from inside Afghanistan but also through the enhanced and increased ceasefire violations along the LoC and working boundary so that we remain focused in our effort for peace not only in Pakistan but beyond the region.”
According to Major General Ghafoor, only engagement based on trust and cooperation will take us forward, not coercion.
‘Pakistan has done enough’
The Army spokesman reiterated that no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. His statement was in reference to the unfounded talk by the US and Afghanistan on the presence of terrorist bases in Pakistan.
“We have been saying that Pakistan has fought twice an imposed and imported war inside Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot. We have paid a huge price both in blood and treasure. We have done enough and we cannot do any more for anyone. Whatever we are doing and shall, will only be done for Pakistan.”
The spokesperson clarified that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace.
“Had we not supported, al-Qaeda would not have been defeated,” the ISPR chief stated.
‘Time for Afghanistan, US to do more’
Commenting on blaming Pakistan for inaction against the Haqqani Network, Ghafoor said: “Blame for inaction against [the] Haqqani Network might have been relevant owing to our capacity issues till Zarb-e-Azb”.
However, he added, the Army went into North Waziristan indiscriminately and took action against the Haqqani Network as well. “The effect of any operation does not appear at that time. What we do today or this year, the impact will be felt in subsequent years and months.”
He further said that if there any facilitators or abettors inside Pakistan that can only be addressed if 2.7 million Afghan refugees are sent back to Afghanistan for which pull factors needed to be created by Kabul and Washington.
According to the spokesperson, Pakistan was contributing in a big way to assist peace in Afghanistan. “To control cross-border movement, we have started to fence 2,611 kilometres of Pak-Afghan border. We have also started construction of additional posts and forts. On the average every 1.5-2 kilometres, we will have a physical presence.”
He added that additional FC wings had been raised to enhance the capacity along the border.