Wednesday Apr 04, 2018
The chief of the army’s media wing on Tuesday asserted that Pakistan has established peace on its side of the border with Afghanistan.
Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor during an interview with a private TV channel said, “Pakistan is contributing and supporting the peace process in Afghanistan.”
“We have contributed as much as we can and will continue to do so,” the DG ISPR added.
Responding to a question regarding Pakistan’s role in bringing Taliban to the negotiation table, Maj Gen Ghafoor said, “Pakistan Army has never said that it has influence on Taliban.”
“It’s not that we’ll tell Taliban to negotiate and they’ll come to the table. We don’t have influence over them,” he said.
Stressing that Afghanistan and the US are the main stakeholders, DG ISPR said, “There is a set environment inside Afghanistan and they [Taliban] will have to be brought for talks within that environment.”
“Pakistan is a member of a board involved in talks with Afghanistan so we will play our role but we are not responsible for bringing them to the table that is for the US and Kabul to do,” he added.
Further, regarding American Principal Deputy Secretary Alice Wells’ meeting with Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa recently, DG ISPR said they discussed security matters regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Speaking about the presence of the army in Swat despite an improved security situation, Ghafoor said, “In Malakand Division there are two districts which share a border with Afghanistan from where we still face a threat.”
“If there’s no threat then nobody is more willing than the army to go back to the cantonments,” he further said.
Revealing that currently there are only six check posts within Swat, he said, “In 2008-9 there were some 70 posts of which 55 were inside Swat and then in 2016 they were reduced to 21 and now there are only six.”
“These six check posts are still there because the threat targets soft targets,” he said.
Ghafoor further explained that through check posts they were able to gather intelligence and foil over 580 terrorist attempts just last year.
Responding to a question regarding inconvenience to citizens owing to establishment of check posts in Swat, the DG ISPR questioned, “Are check posts more inconvenient or having terrorists chop off heads from bodies and play football with them?”
He further stressed that peace has been restored in Swat and the security situation is markedly better than what it was in 2008-9.
Responding to a question regarding Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s arrest orders, the DG ISPR said, “If the court has ordered his arrest then the government and police should follow, army has nothing to do with it.”
“But the court is supreme and its orders should be respected,” he added.
When asked about the 'Bajwa doctrine' doing rounds in the media and clarified by himself later, Maj Gen Ghafoor said, “The Parliament is supreme and amendments are their responsibility.”
Upholding that devolution of power and empowering provinces is a good step towards countering security threats, DG ISPR said, “Capacity building should be done.”
He added that no written document or policy document has been issued on the doctrine.
The DG ISPR once again clarified that the army does not have a role to play in the announcement or timeline of general elections 2018.
“How can I say when they’ll happen or how,” he questioned.
When asked about his wishes regarding whether elections should happen, he asked, “What difference does my wish make.”
He then went on to say, “First I’m a Pakistani citizen and then a soldier and like all other Pakistanis I wish that assemblies run their course and democracy is upheld.”
Responding to a question, the DG ISPR said it’s not right to say Pakistan is not doing anything regarding the clashes in occupied Kashmir.
“The Kashmiri struggle is alive and needs attention from world powers regarding the state terrorism and human rights violations being done there."
“The government has addressed these issues and the Foreign Office and premier have spoken about it,” he added.
Speaking about the attack in Quetta in which four Christians were killed and was claimed by Daesh, DG ISPR said, “Deash does not have an established infrastructure in Pakistan.”
“Some outfits try to join their bandwagon just as some criminals joined TTP’s bandwagon earlier but we will not let them establish.”
He added that there has been a “phenomenal reduction in attacks in Balochistan particularly Quetta in the past six months.”
“The frequency of attacks has markedly reduced thanks to security forces, police and intelligence agencies.”
He added that it’s not that attacks aren’t happening but, “If they attempt to attack 100 times, they are successful only once.”