DG ISPR’s Briefing
I guess, it was in the wake of dangerous designs of enemies of Pakistan huddled together in Afghanistan that the Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had to say “No More” and on several occasions mentioned about the hazards of hybrid war. He and IK made it clear that Pakistan will never fight someone else’s war on its soil again, and will not allow anyone to treat it as a “hired gun”. DG ISPR also highlighted the security threats, human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and against Indian Muslims in India, continuous ceasefire violations of India across the LoC in 2017-18 (1881 and 2593 incidents resulting in 55 civilian casualties and injuries to 300), and PTM trying to cross the red line.
For the benefit of the media which has paid scant attention to Indian aggressive acts and activities of anti-state elements, he had to recount the achievements of the security forces in FATA, Karachi and Baluchistan where incidents of terrorism and crimes have dropped down sharply. He advised the media to shun disinformation and negativity and to stop playing the games of external enemies and instead exhibit greater sense of responsibility by building positive image of Pakistan and its premier institutions at least for next six months.
It seems that the security think tanks are foreseeing the future developments in the region boding well for Pakistan. Facilitation sought by the US from Pakistan is viewed as an encouraging development. They feel that the US now wants safe and honorable exit from Afghanistan and Pakistan can help in its exit as a friend and not as a defeated nation. Judging from the growing eagerness of all stakeholders for peace in Afghanistan, they are forecasting a political settlement followed by setting up of interim setup to hold presidential election by mid-2019 and return of foreign troops by end 2019 or first half of 2020. If so, it will bring a sea change in the fortunes of Af-Pak region which has gone through hell for the last four decades. Departure of USA will pave the way for reduction of perverse influence of India in Afghanistan. Among the neighbors, Pakistan has suffered the most on account of instability in Afghanistan.
Governed by the sense of optimism, Gen Asif Ghafoor has given the six-month timeframe to the media, hoping that by that time the PTI regime would hopefully overcome its teething problems and achieve a strategic breakthrough in economics. Political settlement and end of 17-year war in Afghanistan and closure of workshop of terrorism will enable the government to concentrate all its energies toward carrying out critical reforms and uplifting the economy. Under the circumstances, besides the government and the institutions putting their act together, the 4th pillar of the State should team up with the three pillars knotted together rather than jolting their balance by promoting foreign agenda.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org