Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army in a very blunt way has warned Pashtun Tahuffuz Movement (PTM) fnot to ‘cross the line’ otherwise action would be imminent.Addressing themedia atGHQ on Thursday, the Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)MajorGeneralAsifGhafoor furnished detailed briefing on Pakistan’s internal and external situation particularly relationswith India. On PTMissue, he said; “They have three demands;missing persons,reduction in check-posts and clearance of mines. Pakistan Army has reduced number of check posts and with the completion of fence on Pak-Afghan border next yearsecurity situation would further improve.”
“We can’t call back the troops given the cross borderthreatsfrom Afghanistan. 43 teams are working on mines in different districts and they have cleared 44 percent areas.’ He said PTM’sinitial list carried names of 8,000 to 9000 persons and out of 7000 cases over 4000 have been resolved. The spokesman said that the supporters of the movement were hurt as they have suffered in the war. He added that the army was still in favour oftreating them with kindness but considering the direction toward which they are headed, the army would have to deal with them as others before them were treated when they caused chaos. The military spokesman informed the reporters that the Pakistan Army had decreased its check posts in KP-FATA to 331. “When we know that there was no longer a need for check posts, they would all be removed,” he said. Speaking about the second demand, themilitary spokesperson said that work was being done for the fulfillment of the PTM’s second demand – to clear landmines. “Troops ofthe army have also suffered casualties due to these mines and unexploded bombs. We will clear the area of mines one day,” he added. The PTM’s third demand was war over missing people and the Asif Ghafoor said that there were 7,000 mission persons cases from 2010-11. “From these 7,000 cases, over 4,000 have been settled. 3,000 plus cases are under process with 2,000 cases with the commission,” he added. Asif Ghafoor reflected upon the nation’s “fault lines” and mentioned that over the past 70 years Pakistan hassuffered due to “weak economy, lack of governance, flaws in judicial and education systems, and religious extremism”. He recalled that the country has passed through tough times, “we lost half of our country, suffered economic crises and faced terrorism, but over the past few years, we have been moving towards betterment”. The ISPR chief also raised concerns over the increasing ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary by the Indian forces, saying 55 civilians have been martyred due to Indian cross-border aggression this year—the highest in history. He said that Indian forces were deliberately targeting civilians across the LoC. Ghafoor highlighted that Pakistan hastaken several positive initiativesfor peace with India, the latest one being the groundbreaking of Kartarpur corridor. The ISPR chief, while regretting that the initiative was negatively presented in India, hoped that India (in time) will “positively respond to this goodwill gesture” as Kashmir is core issue between the two countries. He informed the audience that the corridor will be constructed in six months after which 4,000 Sikh pilgrims will be able to visit the Kartarpur daily. “It will be a one-way corridor and barbed fence from the Indian side to Kartarpur, and the Sikh pilgrims will remain restricted to Kartarpur,” the spokesperson said. Giving an overview of the domestic security situation, the ISPR chief said law and order situation has greatly improved across the country. “Incidents ofterrorism and other crimes like abduction and extortion have greatly decreased in erstwhile Fata, Balochistan, and Karachi,” he said. He offered those people who have hide in mountains to come down and join the main stream. Moreover, a total of 2,200 ferraris have laid down their weaponsinBalochistan during the past three years. Ghafoor further urged the disgruntled elements in Balochistan to “relinquish their violent path and join the national mainstream”. The ISPR chief urged the media to play its “effective role in projecting a soft image of Pakistan as it did to shape public opinion against terrorism”. Responding to a question about the reported heavy military build-up by India, he said Pakistan was a “confident and responsible nuclear-capable state and any misadventure from India will be responded in a befitting manner”.