RAWALPINDI: Director-General Inter-Services Public Relation Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday that there are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.
“There are no organised bases of any terrorist organisations in the country anymore.”
“More than 50 per cent of Afghan territory is out of their control, which is also affecting Pakistan,” said the DG ISPR while explaining that attacks in the country originate out of Afghanistan.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor accepted that there are threats to Pakistan’s borders, but added that the important question to ask is if the threat is by state or non-state actors.
He added that Afghanistan has been at war for four decades and after 9/11 the war entered Pakistan.
Rangers at NAB court
In regards to the issue of Rangers deployment at the accountability court on Monday, he said Rangers are under the Ministry of Interior.
“Three wings of Rangers were deployed under Article 147. Once this happened, there is local coordination and this has been in practice since 2014,” said Ghafoor.
“A soldier who is deployed is doing his duty and if he is told not to allow irrelevant people….it is possible that someone who did not have a card was a relevant person. Even if the army chief does not have the necessary pass, he is informed by the personnel on duty that he is not allowed.”
He added that the personnel performing their duty should be appreciated.
“Any type of instability, whether political or economic, can not be in the country’s interest and needs to be resolved.”
Ghafoor said that the western border is being fenced while forts and posts have been built.
“The border will be further strengthened in the coming years,” said DG ISPR.
He explained that some of the troops deployed on the western border, which number around 200,000, have been rotated back to cantonments as the situation has improved significantly on the Pakistani side of the border.
“The border also extends to Iran and we are also improving border security there.”
He stated that security operations conducted in the border regions are not against the people, state or the armed forces of Iran or Afghanistan, but are against non-state actors.
“Our border also meets Iran. It is important to mention that our deployment is not against Iran or Afghanistan but against non-state actors.”
Ghafoor said Pakistan has ongoing coordination and contact with Tehran. “The army chief will soon visit Iran to improve relations,” he said.
‘India has paid a price’
Referring to the eastern border with India, Maj Gen Ghafoor said the border is “unsafe because of India’s inappropriate reactions”.
Talking about the increasing number of ceasefire violations by Indian forces, Ghafoor said the current year has witnessed the highest number of violations when compared to previous years.
He added India has paid a price for firing incidents and will continue to do so if India does not act with restraint.
“Threats from India are perpetual. We are a peaceful country and we do not want war with them, but we will defend ourselves fully and have the capability to do so.”
“Unlike India, we cannot fire indiscriminately as there are Kashmiri brothers on the other side as well, so when there are casualties on that side, it is soldiers and infrastructure. But war is not the solution, so we are talking to them at all levels to stop this.”
Referring to the ongoing Operation Raadul Fasaad, Maj Gen Ghafoor said it is being conducted successfully and intelligence based operations will continue in the country.
“There was a huge security risk during Muharram. After many years, Muharram passed peacefully in Pakistan,” said Ghafoor.
Elaborating further, he said two suicide bombers, along with their handler, were arrested in Karachi and a car bomb was recovered from Quetta.
He also spoke of a Bohra community gathering in Karachi which saw 21,000 foreigners participating, including 12,000 Indian citizens.
“This event was also conducted successfully.”
Referring to the World XI match and the cricket match in Miranshah, he said both were also conducted successfully and in the coming days, there would be a hockey match in Karachi.
“There were thousands of people watching the match in Miramshah and that would not have been possible if there were security threats.”
‘Hostile narrative against Army’
During the press conference, Maj Gen Ghafoor said not a single country has faced the threats that faced Pakistan in 2008 and 2009.
“There are no other countries like Pakistan, as all other countries who faced such problems either collapsed or had to have foreign armies take control. This is why you will hear the narrative that the Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are not in anyone’s control,” said DG ISPR while referring to recent media reports that ISI officials had ties to militant groups.
“The target of the hostile narrative is the power which stopped them, hence you will hear the narrative that the Pakistan Army and ISI are not in control.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor said there are four hostile agencies planning to conduct terror activities in Pakistan, and the same has been shared with the Foreign Office.
“We have to take this war to its logical conclusion. If our resolve stays strong, then nothing can happen in Pakistan. Even now, we have intelligence about four agencies working against us.”
He added that Pakistan has come a long way and the country is moving towards a peaceful Pakistan.
“ISAF could never have succeeded without us,” said the army spokesman.
The spokesman was asked why there was no press release following the special corps commanders conference recently held at GHQ, he said, “Silence is also an expression”.