Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor acknowledged the fact that Pakistan’s relations with the United States are strained.
However, he reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the army, with the help of the public, has fought terrorism and done what no other armed force in the world could manage. “We have learned that national interest comes first and we will not compromise on that,” he stressed, saying the political and military relationship would always be on the same page against any external threat.
“Nobody is more desirous of US success in Afghanistan than we are,” he assured. “We want them to return successful and wish Afghanistan forms a government that reflects the will of the Afghan people.”
“We will give them whatever support they need,” he promised.
He addressed a wide-ranging press conference on Monday to address several key issues, including Pakistan-India relations, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, the ongoing inquiry against retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani and social media propaganda, among others.
The army spokesperson also addressed several criticisms of the military, including references to it as the khalai makhlooq (celestial beings) that subvert the democratic process and accusations that it backs or supports militants.
Seemingly unfazed by the pejorative terms used against the institution, the army spokesperson said the army would continue to exercise restraint till the criticism was limited to the institution, but would take action if people started targeting the state.
To a question on how the army responded to being referred to as ‘khalai makhlooq’, the army spokesperson said simply that he would reserve his comments on the matter.
“But I will comment on a matter that is linked to this. You know the environment prevalent in Pakistan right now: this is an election year. The year 2018 is a year of change. Political parties are fighting for power, and this fight has to be at each others’ expense. You should not drag security forces into this.
“However we, as the forces of Pakistan, are also happy with one thing: that every allegation levelled against us has been proven wrong with time. They said there would be no election in [NA]-120; that there would be no elections for Senate; the elections won’t be announced on time; the government wouldn’t complete its tenure — nobody is happier [than us] that the government completed its tenure.
“Let me congratulate the ex-parliament and the people of Pakistan on this: the forces of Pakistan are very happy that the second democratically elected parliament has completed its tenure and we hope this will continue in the future as well.”