Will offer tea if Maulana Fazl marches to Rawalpindi: DG ISPR

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army has said that it will not answer any baseless allegations adding there was no reason for JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to march to Rawalpindi.

Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Babar Iftikhar was addressing a press conference on the security and border situation and to present a comparative analysis of security challenges during the past decade.

“I don’t see a reason for [them] coming to Pindi. And if at all they want to come, we will offer them chai pani (refreshments) and look after them. What more can I say?” the DG ISPR said.

“Last 10 years were very challenging for the country,” DG ISPR said, adding that Pakistan has witnessed a decline in terror activities in the last past decade. He said that banned outfits were facilitated to damage Pakistan but the nation is united while proscribed organisations were being facilitated to harm Pakistan on the western border.

“Despite all these challenges, the state, institutions, the armed forces and intelligence agencies and most importantly the Pakistani people unitedly faced these challenges,” he said. He added that along with restoring peace in the tribal districts along the western border, socioeconomic projects had been launched.

He added that concrete steps were taken to solidify the Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders and “as a result of successful operations against terrorism, the security situation improved considerably.”

Maj Gen Iftikhar said Operation Raddul Fasad had “consolidated the achievements of the entire decade”. He said through this operation, the support base of terrorists, their facilitators, abettors, financiers and weapons were destroyed to a large extent.

“Today, there is no organised terrorist infrastructure comparable to the past left in Pakistan,” he said, adding that law enforcement agencies had successfully neutralised half of all threats in 2020. 

He said authorities conducted more than 370,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) during the last three years including 50 were ‘major operations’. As a result of these operations, the authorities recovered 72,227 weapons and 5 million rounds of ammunition. 

In 2007-08, the state had control of only 37% of the erstwhile tribal districts, whereas today all tribal districts have been completely consolidated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Major terrorist incidents had declined by 86% in 2020 since the peak in 2013, and were 45% lower compared to the preceding year.  

He highlighted the significant improvement in Karachi’s security situation, stating that terrorism incidents had declined 95%, target killings by 98%, extortion by 99% and kidnappings by 98% since their peak. 

Maj Gen Iftikhar said border terminals, scanners, posts and fencing had been utilised to cut down security threats. He said more than 83% of the Pak-Afghan border have been fenced, and more than 37% of the Pak-Iran border have been fenced. These measures have led to improved revenue collection and reduced smuggling, as well as a marked reduction in terrorist and bombing incidents.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said there had been a marked increase in provocative incidents from the Indian side along the Line of Control and targeting of civilian populations. He highlighted the exponential increase in ceasefire violations from the Indian side since 2014, which resulted in high levels of civilian casualties.

“We have retaliated with full force, and the Indian side has had to suffer heavy losses due to our response,” he said. “When they couldn’t succeed in this domain, India resorted to fifth-generation warfare, the general said.

He said dossier of proofs related to India’s involvement in terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan was handed over to the international community. He said that irrefutable has been brought forth about India’s involvement in a disinformation campaign against Pakistan as a result of the EU DisInfo Lab’s investigation.