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Time for Afghanistan and US to do more for Pakistan: DG ISPR

Updated December 28, 2017

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Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor at the press conference — DawnNews
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor at the press conference — DawnNews

"It is time Afghanistan and the US do more for Pakistan," Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor remarked on Thursday while addressing a press briefing on the national and regional security situation.

Referring to the United States' (US) demands to act against the alleged presence of terrorist elements in Pakistan, Maj Gen Ghafoor clarified again that: "No organised infrastructure of any banned organisation is present in Pakistan. We have fought an imposed and imported war twice in Pakistan and now we cannot do any more for anyone."

"Whatever we are doing, and we will do, is solely for the people of Pakistan. The aid we received (from the US) was reimbursement for the support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda. Had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaeda," he added.

"There are no facilitators [of terrorist groups] in Pakistan and we have gone a long way towards supporting peace in the region," Maj Gen Ghafoor insisted, reiterating Pakistan's stance on the US's repetitive demand for the country to "do more".

Discussing measures taken by Pakistan to stop cross-border infiltration of terrorists, Ghafoor said: "We have started the construction of forts and posts on the Afghan border for effective border management — what more does the US and Afghanistan want from us?"

"No country is more interested in Afghan peace than us, as we know that peace there [Afghanistan] means peace in Pakistan," the DG ISPR stressing, adding that the US needs to check India's role in the Afghan region.

"No amount of coercion can work — it is only trust-based cooperation that can bring enduring peace to the region," he said

"What kind of friends are we that we are being given notices [by the US]?" he asked, adding that while Pakistan Army was willing to work with its friends, it cannot compromise on its respect.

Moving on to the Indian army's recent claims that it infiltrated Pakistan's borders, Maj Gen Ghafoor said: "India recently claimed that 10 of their soldiers came in Pakistan's territory and killed Pakistani soldiers. But this is all false propaganda for their domestic audience to take the focus off the effective political struggle they are facing for Kashmir's freedom."

"You cannot lure us into such unprofessional undertakings," the DG ISPR said.

He also thanked all media outlets for not giving in to Indian propaganda and running the "false" story regarding Indian infiltration into Pakistan.

Regarding India's complaints on Kulbushan Jadhav's meeting with his mother and wife, Maj Gen Ghafoor said: "India always looks to reduce the relevance of any gestures that Pakistan makes. However, every effort that anti-Pakistan elements make, we will counter."

"The Foreign Office has given a detailed response [to the Indian accusations]. Even if we do something as a good gesture, the Indian media will colour it in a negative light. We allowed Jadhav to meet his family as a responsible state — if we were irresponsible, we would have given in to Indian pressure and allowed consular access to him," the DG ISPR said.

He concluded: "This will not impact the case at all."

Talking about the army's presence on the borders, "We have fought well on western borders despite the threats that linger on the eastern border, but danger has not subsided yet."

"When we started action in Fata, the troublemakers turned to Balochistan," he observed.

"[However,] the army took the situation in Balochistan into account and the army chief presented the Khushal Balochistan programme on November 15," he said.

He added that the purpose of the programme was to provide resources to help speed up development, provide security, carry out action against terrorism, and cleanse the region of separatist elements.

"As a result of the programme, over 2,000 Baloch nationalists have given up their arms," he stated.

While answering a question regarding Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif's continuous tirade against the armed forces, Maj Gen Ghafoor said, "We will maintain our silence on the matter as Pakistan's armed forces are well aware of the threats and challenges we are facing and our achievements against them; thus we will not be distracted."

He added: "Political activity is ongoing. It is for the people to decide for themselves if there is a conspiracy in the country, and if they believe there is one, they should tell us what it is."

Discussing Minister for Railway Saad Rafique's remarks regarding junior officers' apparent lack of commitment to the army chief's orders, the DG ISPR said, "The statement was extremely irresponsible and unwarranted, as it targets the chain of command. The Pakistan Army is a disciplined institution and the army chief's orders are followed without question."

He added: "The army takes pride in its discipline. These remarks should not have been made."

When asked about former president Pervez Musharraf's recent statements regarding "rogue elements" being responsible for Benazir's death, the army spokesman said, "I am the spokesperson for the sitting army chief and the media should ask Musharraf to defend his own statements. As of now, I can say that there are no rogue elements within the Pakistan Army."