Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday cautioned India against destabilising Pakistan, clarified the Bajwa doctrine as well as the military’s role in the upcoming elections.
Dismissing misinterpretations regarding the Bajwa doctrine, the DG ISPR asserted, “If there is a Bajwa doctrine per se it is the talk held from the security lens. Pakistan from the security lens should be taken to where it should be. This is the dream of every Pakistani whether they are a civilian, in the government or opposition, in government office or in uniform.”
Major General Ghafoor added that the Bajwa doctrine did not mention the 18th amendment or the judiciary.
“General Bajwa as the Army chief wishes to take Pakistan towards the path of peace which each Pakistani wants,” the DG ISPR clarified adding, “It should not be interpreted in any other way.”
Responding to a question, DG ISPR said the army chief met certain journalists because some of them wanted to meet him. It was an off the record meeting regarding the security situation of the country, he said.
“The army chief addressed the same issues in the meeting as I discuss with you in my press conferences,” he said.
“I take pride in the fact that most media anchors respected the norms of media interaction,” he said. “But a few of them discussed the meeting and the quoted statements were slightly out of context.”
He explained that during the long meeting many topics came under discussion, however, some quarters lumped the entire conversation with journalists as the Bajwa doctrine.
General Ghafoor also noted that some media persons who had not been part of the meeting had written articles and conducted programmes on it.
India must stop attacks on Pakistani citizens
“India shouldn’t support instability in Pakistan through Afghanistan or through violations on the Line of Control as instability in our country is not in the interest of New Delhi,” the DG ISPR said.
According to DG ISPR, Indian ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary were the worst in history and in 2018 there have been 948 violations. “India needs to realise that aggression at the LoC and Working Boundary will ruin prospects of peace.”
He demanded that India stop attacks on Pakistani citizens.
Stating that the United States wouldn’t be a super power if it wasn’t for Pakistan, Maj Gen Ghafoor said the country has been countering extremism and promoting peace in the region.
“India should also be thankful to Pakistan for countering terrorism,” Major General Ghafoor added.
Warning India and others in the region from attempting to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), DG ISPR said, “The benefits from the economic corridor will be for the region, not just Pakistan and China.”
“Our desire for peace cannot and should not be considered a weakness,” he cautioned.
Major General Ghafoor also lamented that even after so many contributions, Pakistan is still questioned.
“Questioning us, undermines our achievements,” he said.
To a question regarding increasing land forces in light of a perception being created across the eastern border of an impending conflict, the DG ISPR responded, “Please don’t underestimate Pakistan’s response capability to India. Our armed forces are response ready.”
He added, that the world is aware of the consequences when two nuclear states are involved in a conflict. “You must trust your forces and know that nothing is lacking in our response [preparedness]to India.”
Regarding extending an invitation to the Indian ambassador on Pakistan Day march, he said the move “shows our diplomatic values.”
“We are a responsible country and invited them to let them witness the resilience of Pakistan.”
Highlighting the positive shift in the security situation in the country, the DG ISPR hailed hosting the Pakistan Super League eliminator matches and final in Lahore and Karachi respectively as a major achievement.
‘Pakistani troops have still not been sent to Saudi Arabia’
Discussing the terms between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, General Ghafoor said the two countries have had a bilateral security agreement since 1982.
“Our armed forces go to countries that Pakistan has bilateral terms with,” he said.
He added, “Pakistani troops have still not been sent to Saudi Arabia.”
‘No concept of strikes in Karachi anymore’
Stating that the security situation of Karachi has improved markedly, DG ISPR said, “Today, Karachi is very different from what it was in 2013.”
“There’s no concept of shutter-down strikes in the metropolis anymore.”
He further said that sick industries in the port city are reviving and hotel occupancy is back to hundred per cent.
‘Balochistan has been the focus for past six to eight months’
Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the focus has been on Balochistan for the past six to eight months.
“Three per cent of Pakistan’s population resides in Balochistan and the situation in the province is improving.”
He added, “Security development has been increased near development projecs.”
‘No responsible Pakistani justified the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud’
Responding to a question about a protest by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement about landmines installed by the Pakistan Army in FATA and KP that left 80 persons disabled, the DG ISPR said the situation in the region was not what it was anymore.
“I believe most of you have gone for yourself and seen the current situation in FATA and KP,” he said. “The intensity of violence in FATA and KP that once existed in the region is not the same anymore.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor further said, “No responsible Pakistani justified the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud.”
We also want an investigation to be conducted into Naqeebullah’s killing and for those responsible to be dealt with according to law, he added.
‘Army doesn’t announce elections’
Regarding upcoming elections, DG ISPR responded saying, “Please understand that 2018 is an election year and there will be a lot of political and election activity and it should be seen in that light.”
“Other institutions, too, are performing their jobs and Pakistan will only develop and be more secure when every institution will perform its job, without any fear, while remaining in its jurisdiction as prescribed in the Constitution,” he added,
Further, he said, “The army will not announce the election. The Election Commission of Pakistan will announce [the elections]and the sitting government and interim government have a role in it.”
Major General Ghafoor added, “The army, in the context of elections, will do every job that the government and ECP, within the Constitution, [require to be done]in aid of civil power.
We are as good a citizen as you are when it comes to the time frame of holding elections or not, he concluded.
‘Army has nothing to do with NRO’
Major General Ghafoor also clarified, “Army has nothing to do with the NRO. Things are moving according to a system.”
“As I have discussed with you, speculations are made when discussions are held. The army’s point of view [however]is disseminated through either the DG ISPR or talks held by the army chief and there is an official press release for it,” he stressed.
“The Pakistan army is a very organised institution and we will communicate any discussion to you through the official channel,” Major General Ghafoor said.
On Tuesday, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had interacted with journalists in Karachi. He briefed the media personnel over ongoing operations in the city and had a detailed conversation about its security situation.