Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Thursday addressed news conference. He heavily criticized the Indian Army Chief’s statement, in which he had said that Pakistan should change its ideology if they want to stay together with India.
“The government took the initiative to make the Kartarpur corridor which was projected in a negative light in the Indian media,” he said. “This is a good project which the government will complete in six months. It will have a capacity of 4,000 pilgrims daily. We hope India will give a good response to this goodwill gesture of ours.” Responding to a recent statement by the Indian army chief in which he said talks could not be held until Pakistan became a secular state, DG ISPR said: “We are a Muslim state. They [India] do not need to tell us what kind of country we should be. Are they secular? Look what is happening to the 200 million Muslims there. We have opened Kartarpur in respect for another religion. We provide security to temples and churches in Pakistan. What happened at the Babri Masjid there? I think he needs to look inward to become secular first and tolerate us the way we are.” ”
He also urged media to show positive image of Pakistan for the prosperous of the country. “The media has the most critical role among all institutions due to 5th generation warfare. The media turned around the situation in Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. I have met anchor persons and media owners and urged them for a more positive role by media. Media has a front line role in 5th generation warfare,” he said.
“You [journalists] are the opinion makers. Show all the good things in our country…Create public awareness. Show them what has improved in Pakistan. This doesn’t mean don’t show the bad. The power which the media has, no other state institution at this time has that sort of power because there is fifth generation warfare and hybrid war. Your target through perceptions and narrative is to reach the youth,” he added. “For six months, show Pakistan’s potential and progress within and outside and see where the country reaches,” he added the Maj-Gen Ghafoor, calling on everyone to play their role for a more prosperous Pakistan.
While talking about current situation of country he said “Why did these difficult times come and who is responsible? There is a debate on this but no result. We keep on blaming each other.” “We can learn from the past. We have a perpetual threat on our eastern border. We have fought wars with them. We have unresolved issues such as Kashmir and peace has not been achieved.”
“We have fought wars, fought terrorism, given sacrifices, our economy was ruined. But today we stand at that watershed beyond which there is either prosperity or something worse than difficult times.” “Can we not move towards a better Pakistan from this watershed? We have to make the decision on whether to stay like this or jump on the roller coaster of success.”
“I am the spokesman of today’s Pakistan Army and can tell you that today’s army is not the one from the past. Everyone in the army has seen a time in which their colleague is dying in their arms. For 15 years the Pakistan Army has not sat in their homes. They have been patrolling cities and neighbourhoods for your protection. The nation and citizens have also sacrificed a lot. All institutions have worked together, but if you remain in the same ups and downs of the past 70 years, then you will not move towards the silver line which can be seen from this watershed,” he said.
He also warned some extremist parties including Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) not to cross the line. “They [PTM] are hurt and have suffered in the war. We still want to deal with them politely but they are headed in the direction where the same will happen to them which happens when the state establishes its writ.”
Major General Bajwa said as the security situation had improved, the Pakistan Army had decreased its check posts along with their operating procedures. “In 2016 there were 469 check posts in KP and Fata, as we speak today there are 331. We will not keep a single check post if we feel the security situation does not require it.” The military spokesman also linked this to the security situation in Afghanistan. “We have improved the security situation at our end…If today we can get surety that Afghanistan has control we can bring back the 200,000 troops. We cannot do this as the threat across the border has not been eliminated.”
While responding to a question regarding Pakistan’s role in a political settlement with the Taliban, he said “As much as we can, we will facilitate.” “What the US is expecting from us, and the Foreign Office is cooperating with, is that somehow they could have these negotiations with them (Taliban).” Ghafoor added, “We wish that (the) US leaves Afghanistan as friend of the region, not as a failure.”
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