Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa in an interview with Deutsche Welle Urdu on Wednesday said the narrative that Pakistan has not done enough to fight terrorism was “unfair” as it did not recognise Pakistan’s contributions to the war against terror.
“For the world to say Pakistan has not done enough in the war on terror is discrimination. It’s unfair and I take it as quite an injustice to Pakistan. Pakistan has done a lot in the war against terrorism and for peace in the world,” Bajwa said.
The ISPR chief said it was an injustice against Pakistan to suggest that the country did not “do enough” against terrorism. “The world had abandoned Pakistan to handle and face the terrorists in the region alone, and Pakistan has completed the task,” he said.
He also addressed accusations that Operation Zarb-i-Azb did not target the Haqqani network, saying the operation tackled terrorist groups of all hues.
“A soldier in the warzone cannot discriminate among terrorists and who belongs to which group. There were terrorists from the Haqqani network, ETIM, IMU, Al Qaeda and TTP, and we fought against all of them.”
“At that time the global community, including the United States, had admitted that the operation was being carried out across the board and effectively,” he said.
The ISPR chief added that Pakistan had played an unparalleled role against Al Qaeda and terrorist groups that had evolved over time following “Russian aggression in Afghanistan” and “the post-9/11 scenario”.
Bajwa’s remarks come as the US has started to demand that Pakistan target the Afghan Taliban leadership and take action against the Haqqani network.
‘Our entire defence mechanism is India-specific’
The military spokesman went on to say that Pakistan’s “entire defence mechanism is India-specific” as “India poses a threat to Pakistan”.
Bajwa said that despite ongoing developments in diplomatic and political forums to engage India and a positive trajectory in Indo-Pak relations, “there is one major cause of tensions between the two countries and that is the long-standing issue of Kashmir”.
‘Mullah Mansour’s death upset Afghan peace process’
Bajwa offered a clarification on Pakistan’s protests against the killing of former Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in an American drone strike in May, saying his killing on Pakistani soil was “regrettable” as it upset the Afghan reconciliation process.
“[Mansour] entered into Pakistan from another state and then he was traced and attacked. He was a part of the reconciliation process and was required to play his role for peace.”
“Pakistan was not informed despite being an ally. This is the issue Pakistan has been protesting.”
Pakistan had strongly criticised the drone strike carried out in Balochistan, terming it a violation of the country’s sovereignty and the ‘red-line’ established in 2010.
The killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansour also signals a more aggressive US policy position. Authorised personally by President Obama, the strike marked the most significant American incursion into Pakistan since the 2011 US forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Bajwa also dismissed claims of an increasingly visible gap between the civilian government and the army, saying, “democracy has been strengthening in Pakistan and it has been receiving all possible support from the military.”
“Consultations are made on all major issues of national security and whenever called, the army supports the civilian government on various issues, ranging from natural disasters to development works,” the military spokesman said.
“Pakistan is the priority of each and every Pakistani.”