State will have to act if PTM crosses the line: DG ISPR

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RAWALPINDI: State will be forced to take action if the PTM cross the line, warned DG ISPR Maj General Asif Ghafoor, on Thursday.

LoC violations and Kartarpur corridor

Discussing the violations by India along the Line of Control (LoC) the DG ISPR said that such incidences have increased in the past 10 years.

“Ceasefire violations across the LoC have increased in the past 10 years,” he said.

The DG ISPR said that Pakistan cannot retaliate at civilian targets in response to Indian shelling across the LoC as there are Kashmiris on the other side.

He spoke about the Kartarpur corridor and said that it was a historic event but unfortunately the Indian media had portrayed it in a negative light.

DG ISPR issues stern warning to the PTM

On the PTM, the DG ISPR said that Pakistan Army was investigating as to where the movement was getting its funding from.

He spoke about the three demands of the PTM and said that Pakistan Army has lightly engaged with them.

The DG ISPR said that the PTM’s first demand was to dismantle all checkposts.

“Pakistan Army has decreased its check-posts in KP/FATA with 331. When we believe that there is no need for even one check-post we will remove them,” he said.

He said that Pakistan would call back its troops if there was a surety from Afghanistan that there woud be no cross-border attacks.

He said that the second demand of the PTM was regarding land mines.

“Our troops have suffered casualties due to these mines and unexploded bombs. One day we will clear the area from mines,” he said.

He said that the PTM’s third demand pertained to missing persons.

“Overall cases from 2010-11 were 7,000 with the Supreme Court hearing it on a daily basis. From these 7,000 cases over 4,000 cases had been settled. 3,000 plus cases are under process with 2,000 cases with the commission.”

DG ISPR said that the PTM has lived with violence for the past 15 years. He said that they had been victims or their families have suffered at the hands of terrorism.

“They have not committed violence. I request them that their demands were being dealt with by the government and army,” he said.

Terrorism and militancy

The DG ISPR said that Pakistan had seen a decline in terrorism-related incidents since the past couple of years. He said that the number of casualties due to terrorism in Pakistan had also declined over the past couple of years.

Regarding Balochistan, he said that the number of terrorist incidents throughout the province had also declined. He said that only 18 incidents of terrorism had taken place during 2018.

He said that while the province made 43 percent of the country as far as its size was concerned, only six percent of the population lived there.

“We have changed our deployment according to the geography of the province. This readjustment is focused on the socio-economic projects in the province.”

Armed forces budget and accountability

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor spoke about the armed forces’ budget and its accountability, saying that the army has a system in place for punishing offenders.

“In 2017-18 almost 400 Pakistan officers have been given punishments which range from a warning to dismissal and even jail.”

He said that Pakistan was standing at a watershed moment where a positive portrayal of the country could go a long way in ensuring that it becomes successful.

“Media is the fourth pillar of the state and you [journalists] are the opinion makers. If just for six months you create positive public awareness about Pakistan both locally and internationally, see where the country reaches.”