All illegal crossing points along Afghan border sealed: DG ISPR

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi on October 29, 2020. — NNI/File

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar on Saturday, speaking of the Afghan border, said that “all illegal crossing points have been sealed” and that deployment of troops to notified points has been ramped up.

Maj Gen Iftikhar’s remarks came during a conversation with a private television news channel.

“Pakistan’s peace heavily depends on peace in Afghanistan,” the DG ISPR said.

He said that as long as Afghanistan is peaceful and stable, “it does not matter who is in power in Kabul”.

The spokesperson of the military’s media wing said here is a “threat of terrorist sleeper cells becoming active again due to the situation in Afghanistan”.

He said that the Pakistan Army is “keeping a close eye” on the situation in the region and is “playing its role with utmost seriousness” for the successful outcome of the Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan has spared no effort for the peace process,” he said, adding that the country is “not a guarantor”.

“Ultimately, it is up to the Afghans to decide how to proceed forward,” the DG ISPR said.

He said Pakistan has the “largest stake” when it comes to peace in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said the country has “fought a long and testing war on terror with exemplary success”.

“Very effective measures have been taken as per the vision of (Army chief) General Bajwa,” he said.

‘Leaders of terror networks sitting in Afghanistan’

Moving on to discuss the recent incidents of unrest in Pakistan, he said that these are “tied to the situation on the other side”.

Praising the Army’s continued success in its various anti-terror operations, he said that it due to these that “terrorists do not have an organised structure in Pakistan”.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said that the “leaders of such terror networks are all sitting in Afghanistan”.

He said that such terrorist networks have the support of the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, and the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the national intelligence and security service of Afghanistan.

“Recent events have shown their frustration,” the military’s spokesperson added.

Anti-terror operations in KP, Balochistan

Maj Gen Iftikhar said that there have been 150 incidents of terrorism in KP and Balochistan and security forces have carried out 7,500 operations in the tribal districts and Balochistan.

“So far 42 terrorists have been killed in these operations,” he said, adding: “Many of our own young men and officers were martyred and wounded.”

The DG ISPR said that the Pak Army is “always ready for the complete suppression of hostile elements”.

He vowed that the armed forces will “never allow the enemies of peace and prosperity to succeed”.

“Our operations continue with full force and terrorists are fleeing,” he said.

‘War on terror fought with nation’s support’

The military’s spokesperson said that in the last 20 years, the war on terror has been fought “with the support of the nation”.

“Pakistan has lost billions of dollars in the war on terror,” he said.

Maj Gen Iftikhar went on to reveal that the armed forces had freed 46,000 square kilometres of area from the grip of terrorists.

“All across Pakistan, some 18,000 terrorists were killed,” he said, adding that an end to “no-go areas” was brought about.

He said all this was possible under the vision of “Raddul Fasaad”, while clarifying that the use of force is the sole prerogative of the state.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said that various countries and institutions have recognised Pakistan’s key role in eradicating terrorism.

Border fencing

Talking about the border fencing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said all fences on Pakistan’s side will benefit Afghanistan as well.

“The army chief has called the Afghan fence a fence of peace. It will not divide anyone,” Maj Gen Iftikhar said.

Rather, it will promote peace and eliminate misunderstandings, he said.

“The instigators of instability in Pakistan operate from Afghan soil,” the spokesperson said, adding: ” We will not allow our land to be used against anyone and we do not expect anyone else to use our land against us.”

India’s ‘huge’ influence in Afghanistan

Maj Gen Iftikhar also spoke of India’s hand in Afghanistan, saying that it has a “huge” influence on the country.

“India invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan to have a firm foundation with which to harm Pakistan,” the DG ISPR said.

He said Pakistan has evidence of India’s role in Afghanistan and that a dossier was shared in November with the international community.

“The dossier shows how India uses intelligence agencies in Afghanistan to reactivate anti-Pakistan organisations like TTP,” the major general said.

There were 62 camps of the outlawed TTP in Afghanistan, he said.

“The signals coming from India are very clear: they are disappointed,” said Maj Gen Iftikhar.

India’s influence in Afghanistan will not remain the same, the DG ISPR said.

He said India is the “biggest spoiler” in the efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

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