RAWALPINDI: The Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday shared new details about a book controversy surrounding former spy chief Lt General (retired) Asad Durrani.
Responding to a journalist’s question during a press conference earlier today, Major General Asif Ghafoor said the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief did not obtain a No Objection Certificate from the Pakistan army.
Durrani, who served as the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency from August 1990 till March 1992, co-authored a book with former Indian spy chief AS Dulat, titled ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’.
The book sparked a controversy as various political circles voiced their reservations over it, with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif calling for an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee over the issue. Durrani was subsequently summoned to the GHQ by the military, and a formal Court of Inquiry was ordered to probe the matter.
Major General Ghafoor said that the institution itself took notice of the book controversy, and confirmed that an inquiry has been initiated against Durrani.
‘Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness’
The DG ISPR said Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness, as he briefed the media on ceasefire violations by India.
Major General Asif Ghafoor shared that India has carried out 1,077 ceasefire violations since the start of 2018 to date.
Referring to a special hotline contact established between the Director-Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India last week, Major General Ghafoor said that what was agreed upon in the contact should be implemented. India violated the ceasefire agreement after May 29, he pointed out.
The DG ISPR said India mostly targets innocent civilians. “If India fires the first bullet and no harm is incurred, we will not respond. If India fires the second bullet, then we will give a befitting response,” he warned.
“Our defence, our desire for peace, should not be mistaken for weakness,” he said, adding that Pakistan wants to abide by the ceasefire agreement.
The army spokesperson shared that the [recent] meeting between Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Afghan delegation was positive, and it was agreed upon that both Pakistan and Afghanistan are indispensable to each other.
“Nobody wishes for peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,” he added.
The DG ISPR reiterated that there was no presence of organised terrorist groups in Pakistan, and there was no presence of organised Haqqani network in the country as well.
He hailed the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, calling it a “great success”, and said Pakistan wants respectable repatriation of Afghan refugees.
‘Concerns over social media propaganda’
On the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), Major General Ghafoor told the media that the army met with Manzoor Pashteen and Mohsin Dawar, who shared their concerns regarding the slain Naqeebullah Mehsud, missing persons and border check-post issues. The army assured them of resolving the issues.
Then a social media campaign started, and a topi (hat) made [outside] began to come into Pakistan. [Those people] who are not happy with the stability in Pakistan, if they join you and start praising you, then we have to see what is [actually] happening, the DG ISPR said.
Major General Ghafoor said that the Army Chief gave strict instructions not to deal with force in PTM gatherings anywhere.
No action has been taken against them so far, the army spokesperson pointed out, adding that “we have many proofs of how they are being used”.
On the incident in Wana, South Waziristan, the DG ISPR said the Mehsud tribe has fought against terrorism for years. The [tribe] then fought among itself, and the casualties were rescued by Army helicopters.
A propaganda was instigated that a girl was killed by Army firing, he said.
“Pakistan has achieved peace by rendering sacrifices in the past 20 years. What we achieved, nobody was able to achieve. Now, it’s time to be united and progress.”
“We are not [affected] by false slogans on social media. The nation’s love for the army has only increased in the [past] 10 years.”
“We cannot respond to [everyone]. We are focused on our work,” he added.
The DG ISPR said that a lot of accusations were made but time proved all the accusations to be false.
“No army [in the world] has been as successful as Pakistan army in the war against terrorism,” he said.
‘Army congratulates govt on completing tenure’
Responding to a journalist’s question, Major General Ghafoor said the Pakistan Army congratulates the government on completing its tenure.
“2018 is a year of changes. Political parties are [competing] against one another,” he said, adding that the army is pleased that the second [consecutive] democratic government completed its tenure.
He said that security forces should not be dragged into accusations, and with time all accusations have proven to be false.