LONDON: Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan will launch 10 if India launches one surgical strike.
Talking to media in London on Saturday, he said the country whose armed forces aren’t strong splits, adding that Pakistan Army wants to strengthen the democracy in the country.
Commenting on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ISPR DG said that the project will strengthen country’s economy and it is the responsibility of the armed forces to provide security to the project.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor went on to say that today’s Pakistan is better than yesterday’s Pakistan, adding: “We are heading towards better circumstances.”
Regarding general elections, the DG said that Pakistan Army has been accused of rigging in general elections, adding if anyone who has evidence of rigging against the armed forces should come forward.
“The people of Pakistan have voted according to their desire,” he added.
He said that Pakistan Army has no role in the process of accountability and drive against corruption.
He said, “We have our hands full on the eastern and western border; the army is to maintain the security of the country. Army has its own stringent mechanism of accountability and it’s the most robust and toughest. It happens at various levels and no one is above accountability,” he said.
He emphasised Army believes only democracy is the way forward and as an institution, Pakistan Army has provided full support to democratic institutions.
“We will work to make sure that democracy continues in Pakistan,” said Major General Ghafoor, who is accompanying Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa on his visit to the United Kingdom. “Whenever the army chief talks to any foreign dignitary, we talk about Pakistan and not about the army,” he added.
The DG ISPR called upon all institutions to stand by each other and work together. “Army always stands by institutions, not with individuals.”
The DG Major General Asif Ghafoor emphasised Pakistan’s success in the war against terrorism. “We are the only success story in the Muslim world in terms of what we have achieved. 76,000 people have laid down their lives for peace and stability in Pakistan,” he said.
The military spokesman stated that due to the war against terrorism, systems in Pakistan had eroded. “We need to correct those systems and in the last five years those systems have started working well.”
Major General Ghafoor spoke of incidents of terrorism diminishing the country and the crime rate decreasing in Karachi. “There used to be 2-3 blasts a day, but it has been peaceful. Karachi has come down in the crime index. Our bureaucracy and others have worked together.”
The DG ISPR stressed when systems are strong the country will prosper. “Every institution has to work within a policy parameter. Today’s Pakistan is much better than before.”
When asked about polarisation and political divisions in Pakistan, Major General Ghafoor said there is no country in the world without political differences. “The beauty of democracy is that political differences exist. Pakistan has the same but differences should be ethical and without abuses and attacks. Through the power of vote first, the PML-N governed, then the PTI and in the future, it will be someone else.”
Major General Ghafoor lamented that it was unfortunate that the army had been dragged in some matters. “Pakistan Army is an organised institution. We have to strengthen all institutions including the police and bureaucracy,” he added.
Citing the example of the United Kingdom, the DG ISPR stressed that police was more powerful than the army and the same could happen in Pakistan as well. “The army can fight terrorists but this is the job of the police and our army has been doing the job of the police for many years.”
According to Major General Ghafoor, police and judicial reforms were important and it was the government’s responsibility to bring reforms and legislation.
The military spokesman further spoke on the role of the international media and how positive stories about Pakistan were not carried but negativity was highlighted.
“A case in point is reforms in FATA. We have not seen any objective story in the western press about this, but reports keep coming up on alleged human rights violations.”
The spokesman added that in Pakistan there was freedom of expression, but the media faced pressures related to the economy.
Major General Ghafoor said the PML-N government had listened to each and every demand of the Pakistan Army and provided funds for the fence on the porous border.
“The PML-N government approved the operation against militancy and fully cooperated. We cannot allow a porous border. The barricade is not meant to be a divide between the two countries.”
Major General Ghafoor, commenting on his “the year of change” tweet, said this was taken out of context. He informed reporters that former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) Raheel Sharif was in Saudi Arabia on a contract approved by the government. He also spoke of former General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who was out of Pakistan because he came into politics.
“The fact is that he [Musharraf] is an army general and the army has nothing to do with his politics. We have no linkage with ex-president Musharraf regarding his politics.”
The DG dispelled impressions that seven former army generals were outside Pakistan, telling reporters that only Raheel Sharif and Musharraf were outside, while Kayani, Kakar and Karamat lived in the country.