Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be taken as its weakness: DG ISPR

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RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor says Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be taken as weakness as Pakistan Army is fully committed to defend every inch of the motherland.

Addressing a news conference in Rawalpindi on Monday afternoon, he said India continues violating ceasefire agreement despite reiteration of commitment during the recent hotline interaction between Directors General of Pakistan and India.

He said Pakistan army honored the agreement, but the Indian security forces and the media both acted irresponsibly, and ceasefire on Working Boundary was violated by India even last night.

He said India has so far committed 1577 violations on the Line of Control and Working Boundary this year, martyring 48 civilians and wounding 265 others. He said Pakistan Army responds to the Indian firing when civilians are targeted.

Giving a comparison of rise in ceasefire violations by India, the DG ISPR said 2001 ceasefire violations took place from 2003 to 2016; whereas in 2017, 1881 violations were committed.

He said 39 Pakistani civilians were martyred in ceasefire violations in 2015, 46 in 2016, and 56 in 2017.

Speaking about Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said a delegation led by Afghan National Security Advisor recently visited Pakistan and held meetings with Pakistani officials, including Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

He said candid discussions were held between the two sides to improve bilateral relationship. He said the two sides developed an understanding that military coordination between them will improve through the working groups formed under Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace. He said the two countries realized that they are indispensible for each other and Afghanistan’s sustenance.

He said Pakistan’s security forces are fencing the Pak-Afghan border to check infiltration of terrorists. He said the Pakistani forces engaged on fencing the border have been attacked from across the border, but they will continue it and complete the process. He said border fencing will prove useful for both the countries to eliminate terrorism.

About Pakistan’s relations with the United States in the context of Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said Pakistan will secure its interests at all costs and render all possible cooperation for enduring peace in Afghanistan.

Rejecting allegations of failure to act against Haqqani network, the military spokesman categorically stated that Pakistan has carried out action against all terrorists under Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said there is no organized terrorist network, including that of Haqqanis, in the country. He said respectful repatriation of Afghan refugees is necessary for complete elimination of terrorism.

Regarding situation on the border with Iran, Maj. General Asif Ghafoor said coordination between the two countries has improved, leading to better situation on the frontier.

Speaking about the domestic security situation, the military spokesman said the security forces have been redeployed and realigned to make prosper Balochistan programme a success. He said security forces eliminated Salman Badini, who was involved in killing innocent people from Hazara community and targeting security forces.

Commenting on FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the military spokesperson said it is a welcome development and will lead to development in tribal belt. He said the Army has assured Manzoor Pashtin and Mohsin Dawar of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement for addressing their reservations. He said almost all of their problems had been resolved, but unfortunately, some foreign elements unleashed propaganda against the army on social media in the guise of PTM.

Regarding security situation in Karachi, the DG ISPR said security forces have restored peace in the city rendering unmatched sacrifices. He said now the people of Karachi will have to say ‘No’ to politico criminology mindset.

He said Rangers’ operations are continuing in Punjab under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. He urged the media to play their role in creating awareness among people for positive use of social media.

Answering a question, Major General Asif Ghafoor said an inquiry has been ordered against former ISI chief retired Lt. General Asad Durrani over his controversial book, and outcome of the inquiry will be shared with the media.

To another question, he said Pakistan Army supports democracy, and it welcomes completion of five year-term of a democratic government. He expressed hope the next elections will be held on time.—NNI

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