DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor held a News conference in Rawalpindi. He addressed sensitive issues surrounding Pakistani political and security landscape while answering questions of journalists. He discussed the issue of PM’s statement about establishment’s support of PTI manifesto. In addition to that, DG ISPR talked about Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) as well as relations with India. The address was unconventional in the way that a lot of issues which are usually avoided by Army was discussed by DG ISPR. Let’s look into them one by one:
PM’s Statement Regarding Army Support:
PTI has always been targeted by opposition for having establishment backings. The reaction of opposition regarding the matter went further ahead when Prime Minister Imran Khan gave statement in an interview. In his statement Imran Khan said that Pakistan Army supports ‘Pti’s manifesto’. The statement was condemned by all opposition parties equally. In response to which DG ISPR gave clarification about the issue. He said that Pakistan Army is an institution of whole Pakistan and doesn’t belong to any particular party or province. He was of the view that Army is at the service of government. It doesn’t matter which party is governing in the country, Pakistan Army’s support is alike to all of them.
DG ISPR said that considering the security situation and strategic culture of Pakistan, Army does give its input regarding the matters of Foreign Policy or National Security. However, the PM has the final say. He said that Pakistan Army’s role is similar to Pentagon whose input is considered necessary before making any decision related to the security of America.
PTM to Not Cross Limits:
In his news conference, DG ISPR discussed the issue of PTM. He said that state has treated PTM like a mother. He also mentioned the three demands of PTM which he called legitimate. Ghafoor was of the view that the state accepted and worked on PTM’s demand, however, now they are going beyond them. He mentioned the demands which were: ‘reduction in Check-posts’, ‘missing persons’, and clearance of mines. He said that check-posts have been reduced in large numbers. As far as missing persons are concerned, out of 7000 cases, 4000 have been resolved. He also mentioned that 44% of land mines have also been cleared. DG ISPR, however, said that it is impossible to remove all the troops from border areas considering security situation and infiltration through Afghan border. Ghafoor said that the state has treated PTM like a mother, however, they should avoid crossing their boundaries.
India to become Secular first before preaching ‘Secularism’:
Indian Army Chief had given a statement last week regarding talks with Pakistan. In his statement the India Chief conditioned talks with Pakistan with ‘conversion of it into a Secular state’. DG ISPR in reaction said that Pakistan was made in the name of Islam. He said that Pakistan knows how to better take care her minorities. “We need not any advices from a state in which 200 million Muslims consider themselves under threat”, he said. Ghafoor said that while we are opening Kartarpur for minorities, India is destroying historical religious places like Babri Masjid. He advised that India to needs to act like a secular country before preaching her secularism to others.
Media need to show Progress and Potential in Pakistan:
Maj. General Asif Ghafoor urged media to show the progress and potential in Pakistan. He said that it’s time to show the positive image of the Pakistan to the world. “Show the progress and potential to the world for six months, and you will see the difference in the country”, he said. Pakistan is full of potential. It is a growing country which is finding its way back to progress after getting out of scourge of terrorism. It is the responsibility of media now to show the true potential and progress in Pakistan to the world.