RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Saturday said the armed forces pose no threat to democracy in Pakistan.
He said democracy can be threatened by the people’s wishes and by not fulfilling democratic duties, but no threat is posed by the country’s armed forces.
“We will play our part as and when required but whatever we do will be done by staying in our defined legal and constitutional limits,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said while addressing a press conference.
Referring to an earlier statement about the country’s economy that garnered harsh criticism from Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Ghafoor said that he felt disappointed by the minister’s reaction.
“I was disappointed, both as a soldier and citizen, at what was referred to as an irresponsible statement by me,” he said. “The country’s security and economy are closely interlinked and directly related.”
He added that the recently held seminar on the interplay of security and economy included all relevant stakeholders.”
He insisted that all of the stakeholders, including the business community, have to come together to jointly tackle the current challenges to Pakistan’s economy.
“The security situation plays a key role in the country’s economy and all stakeholders must jointly work to improve the country’s situation,” Ghafoor said.
“I have never said in any of my press conferences that only the armed forces have worked hard against the current challenges; I have always said that all institutions have made great efforts to move towards a better future.”
He added that all stakeholders will continue to make joint efforts to counter all challenges, adding that he stands by his earlier statement as that was the army’s stance and not his ‘personal view.’
Maj Gen Ghafoor, elaborating on the recently held seminar on Pakistan’s economy in which the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa delivered a keynote address, said that Gen Bajwa had also asked the attendees of the conference to pay taxes and play their role in strengthening Pakistan’s economy.
“Out of the tax notices issued last year, only 39 per cent collection was made out of which around 95pc were indirect taxes.”
The army spokesman added that if Pakistan’s economy follows the model of a borrowed economy than vital decisions, including decisions on security can be compromised.
“If the economy is stable than out decision making will be stronger too.”
No more room to ‘do more’
Discussing the regional security situation, he said that there is no more room to ‘do more’ in the fight against terrorism at the behest of other countries.
Ghafoor said that the armed forces have done a lot in Pakistan and ‘will do more for the motherland in collaboration with our institutions’ but there is ‘no more room to do more’ for other countries.
“Pakistan has done a lot to improve its security situation in the past 15 years, especially in the past eight years,” he said, adding that only trust-based relations with the international community can take us forward.
Referring to an intelligence-based operation conducted on Thursday that led to the safe recovery of a Canadian-American couple and their three children, the DG ISPR said that the intelligence sharing and cooperation can ensure a better security situation.