ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry Tuesday said the Pakistan Army is a national institution and has nothing to do with any political party.

While addressing the media, the DG ISPR reiterated the army’s stance that it does not have a leaning towards any political party or ideology.

He said all political parties are respectable for us. “If army was used to further a specific political ideology anywhere in the world, it led to anarchy,” he said. He further added that the government and the military have constitutional and non-political ties — a stance that the army has stood by.

“This non-political relationship should not be given a political angle.”

Referring to several retired army men supporting PTI, the ISPR DG said that the veterans’ organisations should not become political as their purpose was to ensure veterans’ welfare and highlight their issues.

Moreover, he said the Pakistan Army will continue to perform its duties within its constitutional boundaries. He said Pakistan Army appoints in the election under Article 245 of the Constitution. However, the reply submitted by the Ministry of Defense to the Election Commission is based on ground facts, he further said.

Maj Gen Ahmed Sharif, while talking about the recent wave of terrorism, said that the decision of dialogue with the TTP was made by the then government.

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He said Pakistan army along with civil and military intelligence agencies is conducting over 70 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) on an average across the country to stem out the recent wave of terrorism and resurgence.

He said the security forces have so far conducted some 8,269 IBOs since 2023 and apprehended 1,378 terrorists and killed 157 among them during the anti-terrorism operations. He added that for the past many months, the terrorist activities were under way to destabilise peace in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.

“The security forces are focusing on it. The civil and military law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have made wonderful measures. However, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch separatist organisations have been found behind all that,” the DG ISPR maintained.

Since the withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan, some 436 terrorist incidents took place that martyred 293 innocent civilians and injured 521 individuals, he added. “Today, thanks God, with the support of the nation, there is no “No-Go Area” in Pakistan,” he said.

The armed forces spokesperson underlined that there were few terrorist groups making hostile activities, whereas, proper efforts were underway to exterminate them. He added that a large cache of illegal weapons, ammunition, and ordnance was being recovered from the terrorists during various IBOs and further recovery was underway.

The Peshawar Police Lines and Karachi Police Office (KPO) attacks showed the nefarious intentions of the country’s enemies, whereas, these terrorists had nothing to do with Islam, he added.

He informed that Peshawar attack was done by Jamaatul Ahrar and the attacker hailed from Afghanistan. He added that the Peshawar attack facilitator was arrested who had trained the suicide attackers and received a sum of Rs7.5 million for facilitation and execution of the attack. “The attack on Peshawar Police Lines was postponed twice due to lack of the people offering prayer in the mosque. In the third time, the attack was executed in the presence of maximum people,” the ISPR DG said.

He added that the KPO attack facilitator, Aryad Ullah Waheed alias Abdul Aziz was also arrested who received directions from TTP leadership and got Rs3 million, whereas, he bought a car from that money to execute the attack.

The ISPR DG also mentioned that during the anti-terrorism operations since January 2023, some 137 officers and soldiers have embraced martyrdom and 117 got injured.

He added that the intelligence agencies’ day and night efforts had helped to arrest Baloch terrorist commander Gulzar Alam alias Shambey.

He said Pakistan armed forces’ efforts were not hidden to anyone and if compared to the world forces under which circumstances and resources it fought against terrorism, there was no precedent to it. “Our fight will continue till termination of the last terrorist,” he vowed.

Highlighting the Western Border Management measures, the ISPR DG said almost 98 per cent border fencing along 2,611 kilometers Pak-Afghan international border was completed and 85 per cent fencing was completed along Pak-Iran border.

He added that 85 per cent construction of forts along Pak-Afghan and 33 per cent along Pak-Iran border was completed.

During this entire process, he said many soldiers of Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom on the process.

He added that 65 per cent area in the tribal districts was cleansed from mines as some 98,000 mines have been neutralised.

He said Ulema and media have played their role in resisting terrorism which was appreciable as they fully rejected their narrative.

He also shed light on the measures for enduring peace and socio-economic uplift of the terrorism-impacted areas of the country.

Major General Ahmed Sharif said socio-economic measures were pivotal to restore the development in the disaster hit areas.

Some 3,654 development projects worth Rs162 billion have been initiated including construction of markets, education and health facilities and were under execution, he added.

He said the Army fully supported youth employment initiatives in the terrorism-impacted areas, whereas, 14,000 local youth were inducted in Army and FC. Some 1,492 individuals are studying in the Army educational institutions, he added.

In Balochistan, he said there has been improvement in law and order situation, whereas, the terrorists want to harm China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other development projects that were underway.

He highlighted that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir had made cut in Army budgets for supporting quick response initiatives. He added that security was provided to these projects.

He said that the Reko Diq Mine project was an important initiative that would play its role in the uplift of the province.

The DG ISPR also underlined that Pakistan Army also provided relief to quake-hit Turkiye and Syria. The Army’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams along with Pakistan Air Force and Navy also took part in the rescue and relief efforts, whereas, the governments of Turkiye and Syria acknowledged their efforts.

He also mentioned the Pakistan Army’s austerity measures and said, after detailed review of operational and non-operational expenses, reduction has been made in petroleum, ration, equipment and other non-operational expenses.

Military has contained expenses through the use of technology, tech-based simulation exercises instead of outdoor drills and online meetings of the staff were adopted.

After two decades, we as a nation have bravely fought against terrorism and victoriously continued to fight with great determination, he said while adding that we will have to play our individual and collective role in sustaining peace.

Responding to media queries, he said the counter-terrorism operations were based on four components of clear, hold, build and transfer. The forces used to go in an affected area, terminate terrorists, revive socio-economic status and transfer the area to civil administration.

The DG ISPR said that the government is determined to move forward through enduring peace by build and transfer.

He added that hostile agencies were working and would be making all out efforts to fail it.

Replying to a query pertaining to India, he said Indian aggression and false statements could not change history.

Kashmir’s disputed status was globally recognised and could not be changed. It was never an integral part of India, nor it will remain its part, he added.

The COAS, he said first visited the Line of Control (LoC) and said that Pakistan armed forces could defend every inch of the country and could take war to the enemies’ home.

He added that Pakistan armed forces were battle hardened forces after fighting war against terrorism for two decades and its officers rendered huge sacrifices.

In 2019, Pulwama Attack was orchestrated and Indian Air Force intruded Pakistani airspace and the Pakistan Air Force’s preparedness was evident, he said.

He also commented on Eastern Border situation and said, the situation at the Eastern Border remained peaceful due to Pakistan-India Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) Ceasefire 2003 implementation and the 2021 dialogue on the issue.

He informed that Pakistan always cooperated with United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and gave full access to LoC but India did not give such access to any.

He elaborated that 16 visits of foreign media and the OIC Secretary General’s special visits to LoC were organised and no such access was given by India.

“India did some 56 small scaled ceasefire violations, 25 tactical air violations and six quadcopter were hunted down by Pakistan Army along the LoC. Pakistan Army is all time ready and determined to fight against Indian tactics,” he added.

Referring to social media campaign against institutions, he said the Constitution gave freedom of expression under some legal caveats. He added that the discussion on social media against state institutions was unconstitutional and illogical.

He said that TTP and Pakistan Armed Forces had a relationship of kinetic operations. The decision of dialogue with TTP was made by the then government, he added.

He added that these hostile and inimical elements and agencies have no faith and religion as they attack all without any discrimination including law enforcement agencies (LEAs), Ulema, forces, and media etc.

He commended that the KP Police had rendered huge sacrifices and the nation must acknowledge it as the armed forces had acknowledged it.

He added that Army was supporting for training and joint intelligence-based operations and intelligence sharing with KP Police.

The military’s spokesperson added that with the growing population, Pakistan also faces a food security challenge.

“Governments in developed countries also use the army to improve agriculture. In this regard, the federal and provincial governments will decide what Pakistan Army’s role will be,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Apr 26, 2023 12:19pm
What is common among Dar & DGISPR? everyone knows they say opposite of truth with a firm face.
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Mubashir Apr 26, 2023 12:59pm
But the billion dollars question is: When will the "apolitical Inc" learn to follow the constitution and not abrogate it?
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