PaK Army distances itself from Panamagate controversy

Military spokesman brushes aside loaded questions

Military spokesman brushes aside loaded questions

Pakistan Army on Sunday announced to have launched a major anti-terrorist operation in tribal areas of Rajgal and Shawwal to flush out Daesh militants attempting to take hold in the Khyber Agency.

He said Pakistan has also chose to fence its entire border with Afghanistan and first phase of fencing is underway.

The army spokesperson also gave a country-wide breakdown of the operations taken as part of Operation Raddul Fasaad.

He added that terrorism in Karachi has gone down by 98 percent.

Addressing a press conference here, the DG ISPR said the operation in Rajgal Valley, a part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), was in sequel to the on-going Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (RUF), meant to clear the small and big pockets where the terrorists of various banned outfits had been hiding.

Ghafoor said that "There is a blame game as to why the Haqqani network is here", and said his country fought against all terrorists.

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LoC violations: The situation along the Line of Control (LoC) has been "especially tense", Maj Gen Ghafoor said, quoting 580 ceasefire violations in this year alone.

He said that Pakistan Army cooperated during the census and is also ready to deal with the flood situation.

To a question, he said the Chief of Army Staff General Qammar Javed Bajwa will take a final decision on the mercy plea of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav at the earliest. He added that it Chief of Army Staff is considering the second appeal.

When asked to comment on a recent book by CIA contractor Raymond Davis wherein he stated that former ISI chief Lt Gen (r) Shuja Pasha orchestrated his release from the jail, the military spokesman said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was not the only institution involved in the Raymond Davis affair.

"We are working brick by brick to bring normalcy back to Pakistan with the support and in support of other institutions", he said. He informed the media that it was going to be a rather hard land operation owing to the treacherous terrain and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) would supplement the army.

Talking about the military courts, he said at present 40 cases are under process.

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Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, in response to queries about speculation regarding the army's involvement in the Supreme Court-sanctioned joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Sharif family's wealth in the Panamagate case, said there is "no direct army involvement". He added that Inter Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence (MI) officials did their work with honesty. "Here, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has pledged allegiance to Daesh".

He also referred to the ongoing phase-1 of the fencing the Afghan border, which is being done in collaboration with Afghanistan. We fire towards bunkers where we think the firing is coming from. He said Pakistan believes in an open door policy with Afghanistan.

"As many as 56 major operations including the Mastung operation and over 9,000 intelligence based operations were launched while over 1,500 joint check-posts were established across Pakistan", he said.

It seemed that many of questions were fed to JIT by someone, he said. "We try to keep civilian casualties to a minimum", he added.

There have been 27 major operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 817 IBOs, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said. "For this, the army should continue to perform its role with support of all other state institutions".

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