Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in an interview with Gulf News expressed confidence that the Pakistani Army has eliminated all terrorist havens from its soil.

The spokesperson of the army's media wing pointed out that the "well-planned and executed military campaign" to rid the country of the menace of terrorism did not come cheap.

"All this has come at a huge price. Besides cost in blood of over 750,000 Pakistanis, there has been a loss of more than $123 billion to the national exchequer," the interview, published on Sunday, quoted him as saying.

"Pakistan has fought a successful war against terrorism — a war which entered Pakistan through the 2,611-km scantily manned Pak-Afghan border when US-led coalition forces started military operations in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda," he told the publication, reiterating, "There are no more organised sanctuaries; for elimination of remaining disorganised scanty residual presence of militants, Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, a largely intelligence-based operation, is in progress."

He added that to combat the threat of disorganised militant groups, as many as 200,000 soldiers had been posted along the border in Fata.

"There are no organised terrorists sanctuaries inside Pakistan anymore," said Ghafoor, adding that Pakistan has repeatedly conveyed this stance to the US authorities and it maintains that it will do its utmost to combat terrorism — but it will not fight inside Afghanistan and neither will it do so within Pakistan.

'Perpetual threat from India'

On being asked if the Pakistan Army is still "India focused", Ghafoor said that "threat from India is perpetual".

"India is [...] busy in fomenting unrest through terrorism using Afghan soil," he told Gulf News, mentioning Kulbhushan Jadhav — an Indian spy currently in Pakistan's custody — as an example. "So we are not having any let-up in safeguarding against Indian threat."

"While threat remains from India, both in conventional and sub-conventional domain, our biggest challenge is to maintain this stability with the threat still residing inside Afghanistan coupled with economic difficulties."

"Having said that, Pakistan has a strong and combat-hardened professional standing armed forces ready to thwart and defeat any threat. We are a responsible nuclear power with over 200 millions resilient Pakistanis," said the military official.

With reference to the Kashmir dispute, he said that Pakistan's desire for peace should never be mistaken as its weakness. "For a normalised Indo-Pak relationship, all issues including the core issue of Kashmir between the two nuclear countries need to be resolved. India needs to behave like a responsible country, stop atrocities on both sides of the Line of Control and also discontinue interference inside Pakistan through state-sponsored terrorism."

Pak Army in Saudi

Commenting on the contentious deployment of Pakistan military personnel to Saudi Arabia, the ISPR spokesperson said that the contingent was there based on the Pak-Saudi bilateral cooperation that both countries have enjoyed since 1982.

Editorial: The Saudi mystery

He told Gulf News that the Pakistani Army contingent is in no way part of the Islamic Force and neither is it deployed at the borders, adding that the military was in the Kingdom in a training and advisory capacity.

Opinion

The great Covid dole
Updated 04 Mar 2021

The great Covid dole

The government is serving the poor with its words and the rich with its deeds.
Informal sector
04 Mar 2021

Informal sector

Pakistan’s black economy is linked to governance.
The game is on
Updated 03 Mar 2021

The game is on

The PDM appears much more confident despite the fact that it is lacking in numbers.

Editorial

04 Mar 2021

Senate upset

THE Senate election results have delivered a stunning blow to the PTI. While the ruling party has seen an increase ...
ME ‘security pact’
Updated 04 Mar 2021

ME ‘security pact’

THERE has been an overflowing of bonhomie between the Gulf Arabs and Israel over the past few months, much of it...
04 Mar 2021

Students’ protest

A GROUP of university students in Karachi and Hyderabad caught the media’s attention when they announced a...
Vaccine challenges
Updated 03 Mar 2021

Vaccine challenges

THE last few months have seen several countries rolling out vaccination drives against the novel coronavirus, which...
03 Mar 2021

Rising prices

CONTRARY to government projections and market expectations, the cost of goods and services for the public during...
03 Mar 2021

Myanmar crisis

THE political crisis triggered by the military coup in Myanmar on Feb 1 is worsening, with the generals refusing to...