No space for war between India and Pakistan

Pakistan army spokesperson welcomes truce but says his country’s desire for peace should not be taken as a weakness

Dubai: Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said yesterday ‘there is no space for war’ between India and Pakistan.

“The Indians have to realise and understand where they want to go … as we are two nuclear powers and there is no space for war,” Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Ghafoor told a press conference in Rawalpindi on Monday.

Maj Gen Ghaffor addressed several key issues, including Pakistan-India relations, peace in Afghanistan, ties with the United States and the ongoing inquiry against former spymaster Lt Gen Asad Durrani’s controversial book.

“Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be construed as a weakness,” he made it clear while hailing the ceasefire truce announced last week between India and Pakistan armies at the Line of Control and Working Boundary in Kashmir.

Replying to a question about former Inter Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani’s controversial book, Maj Gen Ghafoor said an inquiry was under way and whatever came of it would be shared with the media. He also said that Durrani’s book referred to incidents that took place after his tenure as DG ISI. “He has only offered his opinion on them,” he said, later adding that had the former spymaster asked for a no-objection certificate from the army, the matter would never have arisen.

Durrani, who served as the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency from August 1990 till March 1992, co-authored a book with former Indian spy chief AS Dulat, titled ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’. Durrani was summoned to the army headquarters to explain his stance on the book and he was also barred from travelling outside the country. He added that the reason the forces reacted so sharply to Durrani’s book was because of his sensitive post at the time of his retirement.

“Pakistan Army has never forgiven any mistake, whether made by a soldier or a general,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said.

The DG ISPR also spoke about fencing project on Afghan border, which he termed one of the factors that would help stem illegal cross border movement and terrorist infiltration. “More than 50 per cent of the Afghan territory is not in the control of their state,” he said, adding this would help contain the fallout.

According to media reports, he also acknowledged the country’s relations with the United States were strained, but Pakistan’s stance was that the army, with the help of the public, has fought terrorism and done what no other armed force in the world could manage.

“Nobody is more desirous of US success in Afghanistan than we are,” he assured. “We want them to return successful and Afghanistan forms a government that reflects the will of the Afghan people. We will give them whatever support they need,” he said.

“There has been a historical and landmark achievement in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the merger of Fata with KP,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said.

He credited the merger to the national civilian and military leadership coming onto the same page.

He also congratulated the government on completing its tenure. “2018 is a year of changes. Political parties are [competing] against one another,” he said, adding that the army is pleased that the second [consecutive] democratic government completed its tenure. He said that security forces stay neutral and should not be dragged into accusations for being involved in any manoeuvring in the next general elections.

— with inputs from agencies


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