Insult to question Pakistan army’s competence, DG ISPR tells CNN

Published January 20, 2015
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa. -Reuters Photo
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa. -Reuters Photo

During an interview with senior CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa on Monday night said that it was an insult to question the capability of the Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism.

Bajwa made the statement after Amanpour asked whether the Army was "up to" the task of fighting against militants.

"I would say this is an insult to the Pakistani people and Pakistani forces if you ask this kind of question. When I say we're very clear and we are capable of dealing with them," he said.

He also compared the performance and efficiency of Pakistan's military with that of the US and Isaf forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If you see the nature of this conflict, you see the US forces in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, they've been there for so long, you look at the Isaf forces. The scale and magnitude of the forces and resources which are employed and look at the performance of Pakistani forces, they have done an excellent job," the DG ISPR said.

"I think there is no confusion in our mind that we have to go against the phenomenon of terrorism, against all terrorists, and their abettors," he added.

Answering a question about the armed forces' viewpoint of militant groups, the ISPR DG said: "There are no good terrorists.....We are going against all terrorists without any discrimination of hue and color."

Bajwa added that the army had cleared a major part of the North Waziristan tribal region during Operation Zarb-i-Azb except for a small belt near the Pak-Afghan border.

Read: Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed

He further said that the operation against militant groups was underway with air and gunship helicopter strikes and these were being followed by ground operations.

Responding to another question regarding the change in Pakistan's security situation following the measures adopted after the Peshawar school massacre, Maj Gen Bajwa said: "There is a lot more security at the national level...there is a concept of security. That has been evolved and there is a review of security at every level. I think it is very difficult to guarantee that nothing of this kind happens anywhere in the world."

The military spokesman cited the example of the recent attack in Paris and school shootouts that occur in the United States.

Also read: Parliament passes 21st Constitutional Amendment, Army Act Amendment

He further said: "The whole nation has come together…You've seen the entire political leadership on one table and take certain decisions for the future of our country."

Responding to a query about the establishment of military courts in the country, Maj Gen Bajwa said that military courts were a stopgap arrangement adopted for a period of two years. He added that the criminal justice system was undergoing reform.

Talking about relations with Afghanistan, especially in the wake of the Peshawar attack, the top military spokesman said: "Relations were already on a positive trajectory, especially ever since we had a new government in Afghanistan. There has been growing cooperation. There has been growing understanding between the two countries."

Pakistan's army has been fighting local and foreign terrorists in the country's northwestern regions. The action escalated when the army launched Zarb-i-Azb operation in North Waziristan in June last year following a brazen militant attack on Karachi's international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and TTP negotiators.

Another operation 'Operation Khyber I' was launched in Khyber Agency later in October.

North Waziristan and Khyber are among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws and lying near the Afghan border. Taliban and other Al Qaeda-linked groups that stage attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are also known to have strongholds in the zone.

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