RAWALPINDI - The head of the military’s public relations wing DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor has clarified there was no concept of ‘joint operations’ on the Pakistani soil. The statement came after few days when the Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif disclosed the offer made to US regarding the Pakistan US forces joint operation on Pakistan soil.
At the same time, Inter Services Public Relations Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor credited intelligence sharing for the recovery of the kidnapped Canadian-Americans in a “coordinated operation”, clarifying the nature of the teamwork involved in ensuring their safe recovery.
US and Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of sheltering the Haqqani network – the deadliest of all the Afghan Taliban factions.
“This has been our stance from day one that the Pak-US common objective of eliminating terrorism can only be achieved through intelligence-sharing and cooperation between the security forces of both countries,” the DG ISPR said.
Delving into the details of the operation, Ghafoor said the Canadian journalist and his American wife had been kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 and were held captive on the Afghan soil. However, a day before the Pakistan Army received intelligence from the US forces that the Taliban were transferring the hostage family to Pakistan. “Upon receiving this information at 4pm we sent our troops and by 7pm we were able to recover the Canadian journalist, his wife and their three children.”
Responding to a question, the DG ISPR said the government and security forces have maintained a clear stance in recent meetings with the US officials. “We have told the Americans that Pakistan has done enough and further cooperation and engagement will take it [our efforts] towards endurance and stability.”
Ghafoor insisted that the world should realize that the security situation in Pakistan has changed. “The situation in Pakistan has changed as post Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad is also going on so we don’t have any terrorist-organised sanctuaries anymore.”
He added that whatever has to be done by Pakistan on its land is done by Pakistan itself. “Many countries could not face terrorism. Our forces have full capacity,” he said. “We can never allow any foreign boot on our ground.”
In reference to discussions about Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent statement about the weak state of Pakistan’s economy, the ISPR head said that if the economy of the country is not bad, “it is not good either”.
“There is a strong connection between security and the economy. The bad law-and-order situation affects the economy. Pakistan Army looks after security issues in the country,” he said.
Maj-Gen Ghafoor accepted that there was a need for further discussions on the subject while noting that the army chief has just given some suggestions for improving the economy.