—Major General Iftikhar says army shouldn’t be dragged into politics; dismisses rumours about military holding talks with PDM
–Says COAS to meet families of Mach victims this week
RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar has said that India is involved in promoting anti-Pakistan agenda in six domains, which include abetting terrorism, targeting economy, using diplomacy, fomenting chaos, Kashmir and social issues.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, the ISPR chief said that European Union (EU) based DisinfoLab has exposed New Delhi’s planned propaganda against Islamabad on the behest of the state of India.
He said that Indian aggression in Kashmir was cleverly kept in hiding from the international watch, while an unfounded propaganda was unleashed in favour of revocation of Article 370. He said that the EU parliamentarians were invited to visit the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in personal capacity, but they were portrayed as the EU representatives.
Regarding social issues, Major General Iftikhar said that false propaganda was launched through EU Chronicles on minorities and women issues. Anti-Pakistan resolutions were moved in the European Parliaments to tarnish Pakistan’s image in all these areas, he added.
He stressed that the DisinfoLab report viewed this anti-Pakistan campaign at number six on the scale of one to six, which is the highest level of disinformation spread by India.
Major General Iftikhar stated that the EU disinformation lab report has manifested Pakistan’s claims and said that the world is now talking about it. “Even if you mute it, the truth always prevails,” the ISPR DG said, adding that the report is a third-party report.
He said that findings of the report serve as a call to actions for decision makers to put in place relevant frameworks to sanction actors and governments abusing international institutions, influencing decision makers and misleading the world opinion.
The chief of the military’s media wing said that the past decade has been a challenging time for Pakistan. He reviewed efforts in the security domain and the challenges of Covid-19 and locust attack, and how Pakistan successfully overcame the issues.
“We have stayed the course and we will stay the course,” the DG ISPR said. He further stated that the challenges that Pakistan faced were overwhelming but as a nation, Pakistan stood resolute.
The ISPR DG stated that no terrorist stronghold is found in the country. He explained that there are small unorganised groups but there is no evidence of an organisational infrastructure.
He said that the state, national institutions, armed forces and the nation become united to cope with the challenges. The ISPR DG said that the overall security situation of the country has improved and comprehensive steps have been taken to secure borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
He said that on one hand, India is continuing violations of the ceasefire line and on the other, banned outfits are carrying out activities along the eastern border of the country. Iftikhar said that the country has always spotted facts regarding internal and external threats, besides timely responding to them.
He also said that 371,000 operations have been conducted in the last three years under Radd-ul-Fasaad. The tribal areas are now a part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the rate of the terrorist incident was reduced up to 45 per cent in 2020 as compared to the last year.
“Security institutions have foiled more than 50 per cent of terrorist incidents. In 2013, Karachi was standing at the sixth number in the crime index which is now 103.” He detailed that border-fencing along 2,611 kilometres long Pakistan-Afghanistan border will be completed by the mid-2021, whereas 37 per cent of the work work on border fencing along the Pakistan-Iran border has been completed so far, and the rest will be completed within one year.
Major General Iftikhar said that the number of ceasefire violations (CFVs) by India recorded highest in 2019 up to 3,097 times on eastern border especially the Line of Control (LoC), as well as making a failed act of aggression against Pakistan in February 2019. Pakistan Army had responded to the Indian provocations in a befitting manner. besides showing aggression in February 2019.
“Pakistan has successfully fought the war against terrorism during the last 20 years and more than 18,000 terrorists were killed besides eliminating terrorist outfits by carrying out more than 1,200 operations. More than 1,100 al-Qaeda terrorists have been captured or killed for global peace.”
“We are on the right path and always will be. The writ of the state is everywhere. All major operations in [erstwhile Federal Administered Tribal Areas] FATA have been completed, whereas, the training of police forces in tribal areas have also been completed.”
The ISPR DG stated that the capabilities of Balochistan Frontier Corps (FC) have been increased and a special security division was made in Gwadar. Although, we are not fully out of danger, however, the situation is under control, he added.
Responding to a question, he said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will visit the bereaved families of slain Mach coal miners this week.
In response to another question concerning Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) threats of marching towards Rawalpindi, the spokesperson said that that the Pakistan Army sees no reason why they [the political movement] would do so. “But even if they want to come to Rawalpindi, we will serve them water,” he added.
Responding to a question regarding the country’s current political scenario, the ISPR DG stated that the allegations being levelled are such that they don’t even merit a response. “The army does not need to intervene in political matters and neither should it be dragged into politics,” he said.
Dismissing rumours that the army was holding talks with the PDM leadership, he said that it is not the army’s job to intervene in political matters. “The government is responding to all these allegations and doing a good job at it,” he added.