ISLAMABAD: Director-General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor has said India had seen the result of going at war with Pakistan and if one war hasn’t changed their attitude, 100 more won’t either.
He expressed these views in an interview with ARY News anchorperson Arshad Sharif in program Power Play on Wednesday.
Major-General Ghafoor said that Pakistan had a 70-year-old history with India in which Pakistan had always talked about peace.
“We have told India number of times that we want to progress towards peace, but India has always shown aggression. Let me make this clear; If India resorts to war with Pakistan then we are ready to respond to it”, he said.
Dismissing the Indian claims of ‘surgical strikes’ in Pakistani territory, he said that even the Indian Prime Minister said that even their public didn’t believe in these claims.
“The Indian government hasn’t given the proofs of surgical strikes to even its people”, he said.
‘Radd-ul-Fasad aimed at ensuring the rule of law in the country’
Talking about the successes of Pakistani security forces against the terrorism, he said that Pakistan had come a long way since the start of Operation Sherdil in 2008, adding that it was a difficult journey
Ghafoor said that it had been two years since Operation Radd-ul-Fasad was launched in the country and the operation was aimed at ensuring the rule of constitution and law in the country.
He said that in the last two years of Radd-ul-Fasad, more than 75,000 secret operations were carried out throughout the country in which more than 35,000 illegal weapons were recovered.
‘Restoration of IDPs a top priority’
Talking about the fallout of military operations that resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from erstwhile Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), he said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA not only bore the brunt of terrorism but also gave up their properties to live in camps so that military operations could be carried out.
He said that the grievances of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) have to be resolved and they need to be provided with education and livelihood, terming their rehabilitation as “the top priority”.
“The war that we are fighting now is for the rehabilitation of the people affected by terrorism. If we want to consolidate the gains in the war against terrorism, we will have to focus on education”, said Ghafoor.
About the demands of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), he said that there was no objection to the fair demands of PTM.
“If Pakhtun people come out with their rightful demands from the PTM platform, we have no objection”, he said.
‘Peace in Afghanistan means peaceful Pakistan’
He said that no country more than Pakistan wished for peace in Afghanistan because a peaceful Afghanistan meant a peaceful Pakistan.
“Only a coalition government in Afghanistan can ensure peace”, he said, adding that development works in Afghanistan should remain in progress even after the United States exits the war-torn country.
He said that the border with Afghanistan was 2611 kilometres long and one of the objectives of the Operation Radd-ul-Fasad was to fence the border with Afghanistan.
‘Defence budget not used for Army’s welfare projects’
Dismissing the impressions in some quarters that defence budget or government land was being used in Pakistan Army’s welfare projects, he said that such claims were untrue and not a single penny from these sources was used in welfare projects run by Pakistan Army.
“A big chunk from the defence budget goes back to the government in the form of taxes, even the welfare organisations of the Pakistan Army pay their taxes”, he said.
“The Pakistan Army meets its necessities while remaining within the budget allocated to it, and no allocation of the Shuhada Package is used for the armed forces but the families of the army’s martyrs”, he said.
‘Government to decide the fate of military courts’
Recounting the performance of military courts since their latest inception in 2015, he said that so far, 717 cases were referred to the military courts, out of which 646 cases had been decided.
“The military courts have awarded 345 convicts death sentences while 296 have been handed various sentences”, he said.
“The extension granted to the military courts is ending soon; the government has to decide whether it wants to extend their tenure or not”, he said.
Rubbishing the allegations levelled against Army for meddling in the elections, he said that the elections were a national activity which always brought change, and the Pakistan Army had no interference in the election process.
“In recent years, the democratic system has enjoyed army’s support more than any point in the past; we wish to see political stability in the country because it results in the ultimate progress of the country”, he said.