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There exist no fissures between the civil and military leadership: DG ISPR

22 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: There exist no fissures between the civil and the military leadership. Pakistan Army is a professional force and it is aware of the fact that it is subservient to the Constitution and works under civilian authority, Maj. General Asif Ghafoor, Director General ISPR, said on Monday.

He was addressing a massively-attended press conference in Rawalpindi. He said civil and military leadership was on the same page about the collective resolve of not letting a foreign war come to the soil of Pakistan and looking after Pakistan's interests.

On the matter of Dawn Leaks, he said it was the government's prerogative to make public the investigation report. Army shall have no objection if the government decides to make it public, he said.

Earlier, he briefed the participants about Operation Khyber 4 and recent success of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in busting a Bajaur-based network belonging to the proscribed terrorist outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. He said the network had been responsible for a gory attack on a Sunni mosque in Rawalpindi's Raja Bazar area during the Ashura procession in 2013.

At the time of the attack, intelligence sources had linked the incident to a speech delivered on the same day by a cleric at the Madressah Taleemul Quran (also known as Maulvi Ghulamullah Wali Masjid). The mosque has been linked to several incidents of violence during Muharram and Miladun Nabi processions in Rawalpindi. Around a dozen suspects who were apprehended at the night after the attack belonged to TTP.

A video played at Monday's press conference showed two of these twelve terrorism suspects narrating how they were asked by their Emir in TTP Bajaur to undertake that attack to trigger sectarian unrest. Links have been traced between the network of mosque attackers and Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies, the DG ISPR informed the media. "These enemies of Pakistan are trying to create unrest. We are cognisant of enemy's designs," he added.

He also divulged that the recent attack near Lahore's Arfa Kareem IT Tower, for which a prior threat warning was issued, was aimed at the Chief Minister Punjab. He said that there were more suicide attackers in hiding who planned to target the CM, but they were arrested by intelligence agencies and were under investigation.

The DG said that without speculating the policy that President Donald Trump was expected to announce, Pakistan would continue looking after its own security interests. He said that removing terrorist sanctuaries from Pakistan's soil was in our own interest and we would keep doing it without any international pressure.

On a question about the Haqqani network, he said that in all operations - including Zarb-e-Azb, Rudd-ul-Fasaad, and recently concluded Khyber 4 - action was taken across the board and selective action was out of question.

On reports of Jamaatul Ahrar's recently launched operation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, he said Pakistan Army was actively watching the LoC and was determined to stop any kind of infiltration across it. Legitimate political struggle and indigenous resistance movement of Kashmiri people must not be given the colour of terrorism, he added. He said the issue should not be looked at from an 'Indian lens'. In the presence of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, how could the freedom struggle of Kashmiris be called terrorism, he asked.

The DG ISPR distanced his institution from retired Gen Pervez Musharraf's recent statement about the civilian and the military rulers. "Former President Musharraf gives statements as a politician and a former president, not as army's representative. Army doesn't own any politician's statement," he said.

He concluded his press conference with what he called the most important point about the white part of Pakistan's flag. White part of the flag is very important and citizens represented by it are as much Pakistanis as those in the majority, he said. He reminded the audience of sacrifices offered by non-Muslim Pakistanis in the line of duty to defend the motherland. A total of 59 non-Muslim Pakistanis have given their lives defending Pakistan since 1947. Out of them, 57 were Christians, 23 (including a Hindu and an Ahmadi) gave their lives during the War on Terror, he informed while displaying a slide with pictures of the 59 martyred Pakistanis.

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