Pakistan eliminated sanctuaries of all terrorists groups: ISPR DG
RAWALPINDI (92 News) – Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan has eliminated sanctuaries of all terrorists groups including the Haqqani Network from its soil through a well-thought-out military campaign.
In his interview with Gulf News, he said that Pakistan has paid a huge price in this campaign, including losing over 75,000 Pakistani lives and bearing a loss of more than 123 billion dollars to the national exchequer.
The ISPR DG said that Pakistan has fought a successful war against terrorism — a war which entered Pakistan through the 2,611-km scantily manned Pak-Afghan border when US-led coalition forces started military operations in Afghanistan against AQ [al Qaeda]. Whereas there are no more organized sanctuaries, for elimination of remaining disorganized scanty residual presence of militants, Operation Raddul Fasaad, a largely intelligence-based operation is in progress.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that presently there were over 200,000 Pakistani troops deployed in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) along Pak-Afghan border. This deployment is to continue despite successes inside Pakistan as threat continues to reside inside Afghanistan not due to lack of will but lack of capacity of the Afghan forces.
“To safeguard own success, Pakistan has started to fence entire 2,611-km length of Pak-Afghan border and construction of new forts/posts along the border to deny free cross-border movement of terrorists,” he added.
He said besides operations, Pakistan has undertaken major socio-economic development projects in cleared areas to carry forward relative stability to enduring peace.
The ISPR DG said that India was not only challenging Pakistan conventionally along our eastern borders, but is busy in fomenting unrest through terrorism using Afghan soil.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said: “Pakistan has arrested a serving Indian naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav working as RAW agent in Pakistan, adding that Pakistan is a peaceful country and doesn’t want conflict with anyone, however, our desire for peace should never be construed as our weakness.”
For normalized Indo-Pak relationship, all issues including the core issue of Kashmir between the two nuclear countries need to be resolved, he added.
The ISPR DG said present violence inside Afghanistan should not be linked to Pakistan.
He went on to say that to ensure achieving peace in Afghanistan, ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan would have to be cleared by Afghan and Resolute Support Mission Forces.
On CPEC, he said enemies of peace and of Pakistan are trying to scuttle CPEC, but Pakistan shall never let them succeed, adding that Pakistan Army has the responsibility for security of the project, which is engine of progress not only for Pakistan but for the region.