KARACHI: The July 25 general elections were the most transparent polls ever held in the history of Pakistan, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in London on Saturday.

The chief of military’s public affairs wing stated this in response to a question during his interaction with media persons, according to Radio Pakistan.

Maj Gen Ghafoor, who is accompanying Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on his three-day official visit to the United Kingdom, later tweeted that he had a candid discussion with journalists on various national security issues at Pakistan High Commission.

He urged the media to project positive image of Pakistan.

“Pakistani media abroad has a national responsibility to project positive narrative of Pakistan. Thanks to them for doing their bit,” he wrote.

The ISPR chief said there was more freedom of media in Pakistan than any other country and called upon the media to project positive developments and achievements of Pakistan at the international level, adds APP.

Answering a question, he said differences in political parties were the beauty of democracy. He said all institutions should be made strong, which was essential for the promotion of democracy in the country.

In Pakistan Army, he said, there was a strong and transparent accountability mechanism. In reply to another question, he said that out of seven former army chiefs, five were living in Pakistan. Retired Gen Raheel Sharif had gone abroad with the permission of the government, while Pervez Musharraf was abroad as a political leader.

Referring to the struggle of the people of India-held Kashmir, Maj Gen Ghafoor said the indigenous freedom struggle of valiant people had entered a decisive phase. He said they were offering unprecedented sacrifices to attain “ultimate success”.

“Pakistan is extending only moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of India-held Kashmir, whose ongoing struggle for freedom from Indian occupation is indigenous,” he reiterated.

“We are not providing any material support to the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir,” he said, adding that Kashmir was an issue of core national interest.

The Pakistan Army wanted it to be resolved through dialogue, keeping in the view of the best interests of Pakistan, he said.

He called upon the Pakistani media to counter Indian propaganda against Pakistan and its army. The Indian claims of the so-called false “surgical strikes” should be exposed, he added.

He termed the army chief’s visit to the UK successful. During meetings with the British authorities, professional matters were discussed, he said.

He called on the nation to get united for defeating the enemies of Pakistan.

Highlighting the contribution of army and law-enforcement agencies to the fight against militancy, he said Pakistan had lost some 76,000 people, including 16,000 army soldiers, in its efforts to purge the country of terrorism.

The ISPR director general said that after restoring peace to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the army had started rehabilitation of tribal people in their native areas by providing basic infrastructure besides education and health care facilities.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018

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