Inter-Services Public Relations's (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday addressed a press conference to clear the air regarding several major developments on the domestic and international front over the past few weeks.

Starting with the most recent, he regretted that "everyone, within and without the media, took up a position regarding the [Dawn story probe]. Two sides were formed [on the issue].

"The purpose of the press release was not to side with any personality, it was in reference to the [PM Office's] press release [sic] being incomplete," he said.

"Today, the Ministry of Interior issued an order according to Para 18 [of the inquiry committee's report] and the misunderstandings of the past couple of weeks have been lifted.

"Pak Army is a strong institution of the state. We, as an institution, will continue to do what is right for the country and work with other institutions," he reiterated.

"We have spoken a lot about democracy in the past few weeks, but there a voice was never raised against democracy," he clarified.

"Pak Army values democracy as much as all other Pakistanis," he said. "We are in favour of a strong democracy and, keeping the Constitution in mind, will continue to do what is better for the country."

Chaman incident

The DG ISPR also spoke on the Chaman firing incident, which saw the Afghan and Pakistan armed forces engage in brief hostilities over a border dispute.

Maj Gen Ghafoor, while noting that the villages where the skirmish happened are divided between Pakistan and Afghanistan, reiterated that both civilian and military authorities across the border had been notified of the population and housing census.

"They [the census team] were going to the Afghan police to speak to them about the headcount and that's when they were fired upon."

"We are neighbouring countries and share brotherly relations. There should have been no exchange of fire," he said. "But when they opened fire, we had to give a befitting response."

Explore: Border firing ends as Afghan military admits mistake

Indian soldiers' 'mutilation'

Speaking on recent accusations by India regarding the mutilation of two of its soldiers by Pakistani troops, Maj Gen Ghafoor reiterated Pakistan Army's "professionalism", saying Pakistani troops would never disfigure the a dead soldier, even if the soldier belonged to India.

Recalling past incidents where Indian soldiers have crossed over inadvertently to the Pakistani side of Kashmir, Maj Gen Ghafoor pointed out that the Army initiates a planned and structured protocol to return these soldiers to India with dignity.

Explore: ISPR denies Indian claim of two soldiers killed, mutilated by Pak Army in LoC attack

If we were the type of Army that mutilated soldiers, why would we be behaving in a completely contradictory way, he asked.

Raddul Fasaad

"On the Raddul Fasaad front, there are two things I would like to clarfiy," Maj Gen Ghafoor said.

"With respect to Naureen Leghari, she has been moved to a deradicalisation centre," he said.

He said Pakistan Army has been working to "deradicalise" youth for at least three years now.

"We've placed them in deradicalisation centres ... They've transformed into responsible citizens, earn a living for their parents and contribute to the Pakistani society at large," he said.

Naureen's story, he said, goes to show how "our youth is being brainwashed".

Explore: Why Naureen Leghari's radical transformation should come as no surprise

Moving on to the reason behind airing Ehsanullah Ehsan's confession, the Army spokesperson said it was only to show how people are being exploited for personal gains.

"Showing his interview was not by any means intended to portray him as a hero," Maj Gen Ghafoor said.


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