Nation urged to foil attempts to create wedge between Army, Government

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday urged all the political forces of the country to foil attempts of the “enemies of Pakistan” who were trying to create a wedge between the nation and armed forces.

Speaking to government TV about the detailed briefing on killing of Al- Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, by the DG Inter Services Intelligence Lt. Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Deputy Air Marshal Air Vice Marshal Asim Suleman and DG Military Operations, she said it was the time to stand behind the Armed Forces like a solid rock and boost their morale.

“They should be assured that they were not alone and the whole nation was behind them,” she said.

The Information Minister said the DG ISI also pointed that some members of the political parties were criticising the Pakistan Army and country’s intelligence services and said it would go against the national interests and strengthen the enemy.

“They need to be supported at this critical juncture,” he said and mentioned the thousands of sacrifices that the country’s Armed Forces have rendered to make Pakistan safe from the terrorists.

She said the DG ISI also recalled that since 1947, the agency played a key role in safeguarding the country and apprehended hundreds of hard core terrorists and high value targets. He said this fact has been acknowledged by the world, time and again.

He said the ISI had in fact rendered al-Qaeda paralysed and broken its back, even before the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, by shattering its entire network.

Dr Ashiq Awan said the “comprehensive briefing” also addressed the security concerns of the parliamentarians about the country’s strategic assets.

He said a highly sensitive and modern security system was in place to guard Pakistan’s strategic assets that were spread across the country and warned that no one should even consider casting an evil eye.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the in-camera session was also addressed by the DG Military Operations who spoke in detail about the ground realities and how the Pakistan Army reacted to the unilateral action by the United States Army.

The Deputy Air Chief spoke about the availability and status of the radars along the Pakistan-Afghan borders. He also mentioned the factors involved and how the PAF responded.

The DG ISI said that the United States used stealth technology on its helicopters that could not be detected by the radars.

“It was due to the technological superiority that they managed to get in,” undetected, she quoted the DG ISI as saying.

She said it was informed that fully armed US aircraft were ready to react to any Pakistani reaction.

The Information Minister said the DG ISI presented himself for full accountability before any forum and said if there was any “negligence or intentional failure”; he was ready to face the consequences.

He however said that it was also the responsibility of the provincial government, the local police and related agencies to have information about the al-Qaeda chief.

“We are, of course, not shying away from our responsibility, but all must share their failure,” she quoted the DG ISI as saying.

The DG ISI assured the nation that despite this shortcoming, the country’s defence forces were fully ready to avert any misadventure.

He was, however critical of the role of some media and termed it “irresponsible” in the wake of the incident and said at a time when the focus of entire world was on Pakistan, the media should show that the Pakistani nation was neither weak nor divided.

The Information Minister said the briefing, followed by the question-answer session, also covered the Pakistan-US relationship over the years and it was pointed that Pakistan needs to redefine its ties.

She said the DG ISI asked the Parliament to discuss Pak-US relationship threadbare and come up with a national policy how to go about it.

Regarding the reaction of the Parliamentarians on the briefing, Dr Firdous said there was a positive reaction from all the members.

She however said that it was expected from the opposition to act with responsibility and avoid criticism of the army and the intelligence agencies as it could benefit the enemies of Pakistan.

She reminded that it was the constitutional and legal binding on the members not to discuss the briefing at television talk shows, in the best interest of the nation.