RAWALPINDI: Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday said that the Pakistan Army stood by the government during the 2014 sit-in. He maintained that there was no role of Pakistan Army in the Azadi March or sit-in.
Speaking on a private television channel, the spokesman for the Pakistan Army said whether it was march or sit-in, it was a political activity in which there was no role of the Pakistan Army as an institution.
He said that Pakistan Army is an institution which has been busy in strengthening defence and security of the country, and which could not spare time to get involved in such activities adding that calculated response had been given in recent days to such allegations.
He said that a march or sit-in was democratic and it was domain of the government and the opposition as to how they should take forward this activity. “Pakistan Army has never been involved in such activity in any form,” he pointed out.
Calling Maulana Fazlur Rehman as a senior and patriotic politician, the DG ISPR also referred to response given by Maulana whether he saw any role of any institution in the sit-in.
Asked about the presence of flags of Taliban in Azadi March, he said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a senior politician and he better knows its implications.
To another question, the DG ISPR recalled that during the 2014 sit-in, the Pakistan Army supported then democratic government and extended its cooperation in protection of important buildings and installations adding that the army was bound to follow the government’s directives.
To a question about the role of Pakistan Army in general elections, he said that armed forces never wished to do so but when the armed forces’ are requisitioned in aid of civil government during any national calamity or general elections, it is question of implementation of order of the government as per the Constitution. “How will the armed forces be deputed and how, this decision is taken by the government and input given by other political parties and it is not authority of the armed forces,” he said. He further stated that the army chief had also given a proposal to evolve a system by enabling police to maintain security where role of army should become zero.
He further said while giving a briefing to the Senate and parliamentarians on February 27 that a committee be formed to evolve a plan of action on national issues, which is better for the country. “We are the last one to perform our duty in elections but when we are requisitioned by the government, it becomes our national duty,” he said and added it was up to the government and other political parties.
Asked about the statements of some politicians about linking Kartarpur with Kashmir, he said opening the Kartarpur Corridor was a separate issue meant to facilitate the Sikh community and it is one way corridor for Sikhs coming from India. “As far Kashmir is concerned, there can be no compromise on it,” he said. He said that it would be legal entry and there would be no compromise on security.