Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday said that if a ‘Bajwa doctrine’ exists its scope is limited just to the security aspect in Pakistan.
At a press conference in Rawalpindi, the DG ISPR was asked about the doctrine that bears the incumbent army chief’s name and whose existence was purportedly confirmed in the chief’s recent meeting with some media personnel.
“When the media interaction took place, things were lumped together and made a part of the Bajwa doctrine,” said Maj Gen Ghafoor, who had mentioned the said doctrine himself in a TV interview in January. “If there exists a Bajwa doctrine, then it is only related to the security aspect.
“Every army chief has their own perspective and General Bajwa’s is to promote peace which existed in the past. That is what the Bajwa doctrine is.”
The DG ISPR said the army chief’s views in his informal meeting with journalists may have been misrepresented by some.
“I take pride that some media anchors respected the norms of media interaction in that off-the-record conversation,” he said. “But some presented their own interpretations and some, who were not even present, wrote articles.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor clarified that the army chief is not against the 18th Amendment but simply wants to ensure the provinces are capable of making the decisions.
“There was a lot of talk about the 18th Amendment,” he said. “The army chief never said that as a whole 18th Amendment is not good; amendments are brought because the Constitution remained incomplete in certain aspects.
“This amendment did certain good things like decentralising certain matters. There is nothing better than every province being responsible for its own matters, but they should also be capable of making those decisions.”
PSL and March 23 parade
Maj Gen Ghafoor talked about the successful staging of Pakistan Super League 2018 in Karachi and the country’s improved security situation.
“The last year in Pakistan was very eventful,” he said. “It was a big deal for security organisations due to the Pakistan Super League and March 23. All went well and the great thing is that the people participated with great passion.
“There was a bit of inconvenience; students had exams from which we learned that we should have coordinated with other departments.
“The fans were very well organised. This was a proud moment for the public, rangers, security organisations and intelligence agencies.”
The DG ISPR said that after the successful staging of the PSL final in Karachi there is no reason that more cities cannot be involved next year.
“The Gaddafi Stadium has been renovated and so is Karachi’s,” he said. “I told Najam Sethi that the next year’s event should be planned such that some matches also take place in Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor shed light on the law and order situation in Karachi, saying: “The Karachi of 2018 is very different from the Karachi of 2013. You saw the PSL final take place at the National Stadium.
“There used to be 70 no-go areas but as of today there are none. The concept of shutter-down strikes are no more.
“In 2017, 386 political activities took place but no violent incidents happened. Hotel occupancy is back to 100 per cent. KSE is also going up. Social events being organised. There’s also a film festival happening on the 30th.
“But this does not mean there is nothing more to be done. We need to take things forward.”
Achievements of security agencies
Maj Gen Ghafoor paid tribute to the role of and sacrifices made by security agencies in improving the security situation in Pakistan.
“Twenty six major operations, 23,318 IBOs, 7,738 checkposts and over 23,000 weapons were recovered as part of Raddul Fasaad,” he said. “Effects of it are being reaped.
“Intelligence agencies have had a lead role in this ‘war on terror’, effects of which have also reached Afghanistan. if we are successful today it is because of intelligence agencies such as ISI, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau among others. They are the first line of defence and we should be proud of them.”
The DG ISPR credited the intelligence agencies for busting seven major terrorist networks, namely Ansarula Sharia, Jamatul Ahrar Kurram, TTS Lahore, TTP Swabi TTs Dir/Swat chapter and Intiqam-e-waziristan group.
Major Gen Ghafoor said the army chief recently had telephonic conversations with PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif but assured that they were of routine nature.
“As far as the army chief’s meeting with anyone is concerned, meetings happen,” he said. “Some reports claimed that Shahbaz Sharif had met with the army chief twice in 72 hours and there was going to be a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
“Shahbaz Sharif had [merely] called the chief to offer financial support for border fencing. There is no truth in a secret meeting.
“Army has nothing to do with any NRO.”
Relations with India and Saudi Arabia
The DG ISPR urged India to stop trying to destablise Pakistan, saying: “Pakistan has played a positive character for peace in the region. If India promotes instability in Pakistan through Afghanistan or the Line of Control it will not be in India’s best interests either.”
“Please don’t underestimate our response capability vis a vis India,” he warned, “We are absolutely ready and capable.”
The DG ISPR talked about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying: “We wish for CPEC to be successful, it will bring prosperity to the whole region. If India sees it as a threat, it will negatively affect the region. If our contributions are seen as negative, this will affect the region’s stability.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor discussed Pak-Saudi relations, hinting that the army will send its troops to the kingdom due to a bilateral agreement between the two nations.
“General Bajwa went to Saudi Arabia and had talks,” he said. “I feel the need to mention here that since 1982 we have had a bilateral pact with Saudi Arabia. The forces have not gone so far but will go after proper coordination. They have nothing to do with Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition but stem from our bilateral agreements.
“It’s just not Saudi that we have a bilateral agreement with. It is a usual practice. Even Iranian pilots are in receiving training in Pakistan.”
The DG ISPR denied that there is a deadlock in talks with the US, saying: “There is no stalemate in talks with US. Action on our concerns has begun, whereas action against certain sanctuaries in Afghanistan is also being taken. According to us, there are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.
The DG ISPR said that operations in Fata are going smoothly, which is why the army has shifted its focus towards the betterment of Balochistan.
“Fata operations are moving towards stability which is why we have shifted the focus to Balochistan,” he said. “Intelligence-Based Operations are taking place in Balochistan.
He identified “water, electricity and communication” as the three basic issues of Balochistan and offered the government the armed forces’ full support in bringing stability to the province.