Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used against anyone, says DG ISPR

Updated 06 Jan 2020

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Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Sunday said Pakistan will not let its soil be used against anyone. — Photo courtesy ISPR
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Sunday said Pakistan will not let its soil be used against anyone. — Photo courtesy ISPR

Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Sunday, while speaking to ARY News, said that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used against anyone and will play its role to secure peace in the region.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said the aforementioned sentiments had been expressed by both the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa.

"Pakistan will not be party to anyone or anything but will be a partner of peace and peace alone," he said, quoting Prime Minister Imran.

The director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in reply to a question regarding the killing of Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike on Friday, said the regional situation had been altered and Pakistan would play its role in helping peace prevail.

Maj Gen Soleimani was killed on Friday morning in a US strike on Baghdad's international airport, in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two countries.

Shortly after, Gen Bajwa in a call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had emphasised the "need for maximum restraint and constructive engagement" following the killing of Soleimani.

Discussing the phone call between the army chief and Pompeo, Ghafoor said Gen Bajwa had said two things.

Firstly, he said that the region was improving from very bad conditions, adding that the Afghan reconciliation process is very important for this improvement. He added that Pakistan would play its role in this and wants the focus to remain on the issue.

Secondly, he said the army chief had told Pompeo that tensions in the region should be reduced. He said all relevant countries should move forward with constructive practices and dialogue.

"Pakistan will support all peaceful efforts and hopes the region doesn't go towards another war," he quoted the army chief as saying.

Responding to a question regarding rumours that Pakistan would participate in the war by supporting the United States against Iran, Ghafoor said such rumours were circulating on social media. He clarified, however, that this was not the first call [between Pompeo and Gen Bajwa].

"From the Afghan reconciliation process to the regional security, the army chief has an important role," he said, adding that the Foreign Office had also issued a statement.

The Foreign Office via a statement had also expressed "deep concern" over the tensions, urging all sides to exercise restraint.

"My request to the people and media would be to only pay attention to statements from an authentic source," he said, adding that they should not pay attention to "propaganda" and "rumours of enemies of the country".

"India is playing the lead role in spreading these rumours," he said, adding that he had read an Indian news article that Pakistan had ditched Iran and the resumption of Pakistan's participation in a US military training and educational programme.

"In our bilateral relations with America, training cooperation was suspended. For the past four to five months, America has been talking about restoring this because training engagement in military to military cooperation goes on.

"Linking something that has been going on for quite a few months to this incident is part of that propaganda campaign."

The army's spokesman said that peace had been achieved in Pakistan after a lot of sacrifices, adding that the nation will play its role for peace in the region.

"We will not be part of any effort to ruin this peace," he said.

'Path India on will lead to its own destruction'

Speaking about the new Indian army chief's threatening statements against Pakistan, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane had been newly installed as the army chief and is "busy trying to make a place for himself" but is not new to the institution itself.

"He knows full well the situation in the region and the capability of the Pakistan army.

"He was part of the Indian force on Feb 27 as well. So he's not new."

Maj Gen Ghafoor expressed hope that Gen Naravane "will no longer let go of reason". "The Pakistan army knows how to defend the country and India also knows this," he said.

The army spokesperson said that Pakistan desires peace in the region but will make no comprises when it comes to safeguarding its security.

"The Indian army chief should, instead of giving such statements, end the clampdown in occupied Kashmir, end oppression there, and play his role in ending the ongoing tyranny in India due to the Hindutva thought," said Maj Gen Ghafoor.

He said that the path India is on "will lead to its own destruction".