No terrorist safe havens in Pakistan: DG ISPR

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No question of martial law; Army playing constitutional role
Sophia Siddiqui

Rawalpindi

Ruling out the possibility of martial law in the country, Pakistan Army Thursday made it clear that the institution is performing its duties as per the constitution.
The Army’s principal spokesman DG Inter Services Public Relations came out with this assurance.
“When in political discussion, allegations are hurled at the army directly or indirectly,” we have a role to play constitutionally, and we did. We obeyed whatever the Supreme Court had ordered us to do” DG ISPR said. Whoever’s domain anything falls in, they will solve it,” said Major General Asif Ghafoor at a news conference covering a wide range of topics including civil military relations, internal and external security and relations with the US, Afghanistan and India.
He said, “Whatever order the army receives within the law and the Constitution, we are required to follow it. In the JIT order, ISI and MI being included was a constitutional order and we obeyed it. In that process, there was nothing that the army produced or gave. We were not a party. Whatever the Supreme Court asked, we did,” he stressed. “But saying that there is going be a martial law should not even be talked about. We are busy in doing our duty as stated in the Constitution,” he added.
The DG ISPR said the mismanagement caused outside the accountability court in Islamabad earlier this week was a result of “incoordination” between law enforcement agencies and civil administration and not a “clash between institutions”.
“It was an incident of lack of coordination but received a tremendous hype,”” We need to improve this coordination and encourage a soldier rendering his duties.”
“We need to understand that [when] a soldier, whether belonging to military or police, is deployed on his designated place of duty and has been ordered to provide security,. “It is possible that someone who did not have a card was a relevant person, but Rangers personnel do not know. Even if the army chief does not have a card, he is informed by personnel that he is not allowed.”
When asked why there had been issued a press release following a special corps commanders conference at GHQ, Maj Gen Ghafoor said “Silence is also an expression.”
On security issues, Asif Ghafoor stressed there are no organised bases of any terrorist organisation in the country anymore,”. “More than 50 per cent of Afghan territory is out of Kabul’s control, and that is also affecting Pakistan,” he said.
“There is a strategic threat that exists on the western front which forces us to keep our army at the borders, because of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other such non-state actors.”
The military spokesperson said that if war was imposed on Pakistan, the country’s forces will respond effectively. He said there was a constant fear of provocations from the Indian side. This year the Indian side committed the most violations as compared with any previous year on the line of control.
In response to a question pertaining to Indian RAW agent Kulbushan Jhadav, Major General Asif Ghafoor said that a decision regarding his mercy appeal would soon be announced.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also provided a bird’s eye view of the security situation in the country. “Operation Raddul Fasaad is ongoing. Operation Khyber 4 is in the ground-clearing phase,” he said.
Recalling that Muharram observations remained peaceful despite emergent threats in Balochistan and Karachi, he also spoke of the Bohracommunity’s Ashura commemorations which saw 21,000 foreigners, including 12,000 Indian citizens, visiting the country to be in the company of their spiritual leader during the month.

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