ISLAMABAD (our correspondent):- The Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar Thursday categorically stated that the Pakistan Army had no role in politics as the country’s future rested on democracy.
In a media briefing, the DG ISPR dealt with multiple issues pertaining to national security, professional activities, recent developments of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad, and the deliberations of the 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference, president by the Army Chief.
Major General Iftikhar said the formation commanders unanimously stressed that democracy, supremacy of law, and strengthened institutions working within their constitutional limits were the guarantee of national interests.
He said the conference pointed out that the entire nation’s support was the foundation of Armed Forces’ real strength since national security was meaningless without it. Therefore, any effort – either deliberate or unintentional – to create gulf between the forces and the people, was against the national interest.
“Constructive criticism is suitable but baseless character assassination and propaganda based on hearsay sans any proof is totally unacceptable,” he added.
A malicious propaganda campaign, he said, was being perpetrated against the Pakistan Armed Forces and their leadership with the use of deep fake technology. False audio messages of retired senior military officers were being played up to create a division and conflict between the society and the institutions, he added.
“It is illegal, unethical and against the national interest. What the enemy could not do in seven decades, we will never let it happen now as well. We request the political parties not to drag the Army into politics. We want to stay out of it and please keep us away from this discourse,” the DG ISPR said.
Such campaign, he said, had not succeeded earlier and would never succeed in the future. “It is better we leave our decisions on law, as the rule of law develops a society. It’s time that we should play our individual role to strengthen institutions and the country, so that we as a nation cope with all the challenges,” he added.
The DG ISPR said the formation commanders were briefed on the external and internal security challenges faced by the country in the evolving regional, local and international security milieu and the strategy devised to tackle them.
The country’s external and internal security, he added, was stable and intact whereas the Armed Forces were completely focused to meet any emerging situation and security challenge.
He mentioned that the forum was also briefed on the intelligence-based operations and measures taken under the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. In the past many months, he said, the terrorists made many efforts to spoil peace in Balochistan and the tribal areas, and they got a crushing response.
In the first three months of 2022, he said, some 128 terrorists were killed and 270 arrested in various operations. About 97 soldiers and officers embraced martyrdom in protecting the motherland and eliminating terrorism. “Our national war against terrorism will continue till the termination of the last terrorist from the soil,” he resolved.
On March 29, he said, six Pakistan Army soldiers serving in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, embraced martyrdom while performing operational duties. So far 168 Pakistan Army soldiers got martyred while rendering peacekeeping mission services, he added.
The sacrifices of Pakistan Army soldiers, he said, had been lauded at the highest forums of the UN.
The DG ISPR, while responding to media queries, said the Army’s stance was evident from the communique of the National Security Committee meeting, which was attended by the prime minister, the tri-services chiefs and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
He said the intelligence agencies were actively working to counter conspiracies.
He said the Army Chief had categorically assured the parliamentary leaders that there would be no political role of the army.
To a question, he said former prime minister Imran Khan had taken the Army on board before his visit to Russia.
He also lambasted the BBC for perpetrating a concocted and frivolous news story on the ouster of former prime minister as it was “unethical”.
He said Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was going to retire on November 29, 2022 and he would neither demand nor accept any extension in his service whatever the circumstances might be.
He underscored that the data pertaining to the propaganda over the social media against the Army and its leadership, was compiled by the government departments and there were foreign linkages to it.
“Unverified information sharing promotes propaganda and fake news, and our religion preaches that it is enough to declare someone a liar when one shares the fake news without confirmation,” he added.
The Chief of Army Staff, he said, had repeatedly said that Pakistan’s future rested on democracy and the Army had nothing to do with politics.
To a query, the DG ISPR responded that the Army was not in the position to give an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to any party, whereas the past events occurred as part of the departmental procedure.
He lamented that the Army was the major target of disinformation campaign and all stakeholders should sit together to enact laws for curbing disinformation propaganda campaigns.
He mentioned that the youth were not well informed on the operational and strategic measures taken by the quarters concerned. “We need to take proper measures to insulate our society and institutions at the government and individual levels from disinformation campaign and propaganda”, he added.