‘No one can fight with the state,’ DG ISPR warns PTM leadership

03:08 PM | 29 Apr, 2019
‘No one can fight with the state,’ DG ISPR warns PTM leadership

RAWALPINDI – The Pakistan Army on Monday said Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has received funding from India and Afghanistan.

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor, while addressing a press conference said he had personally met the tribal district-based movement, but questioned the political movement regarding the source of their funding.

He clarified Army wanted to make every effort to resolve the issues faced by Pashtuns in tribals areas, but, the way, they (PTM) adopted to eradicate such grievances would no longer be tolerated.

“No one can fight with the state. We were told to deal gently with PTM since day one”. “Why does TTP speak in favour of PTM? Why is your narrative similar,” he asked.

“Problems and demands are genuine and we want to help the people. But the time is up for the people who are using the problems for their benefit.”

‘India factor’

The Army also warned India not to test the nation’s resolve. “India must not test Pakistan’s resolve. It is not 1971 anymore,” Gen Ghafoor explained.

The military spokesperson said that India has been lying for the past two months and Pakistan has shown responsibility despite these lies and added that the country foiled India’s airstrike.

“None of Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) F-16 fighter aircraft was missing which was also proven by a report in an American news publication,” he maintained.

“For the past two months, India has been continuing to present lies instead of facts. As a responsible country, we have not responded to their lies. Lies have to be repeated again and again. Truth only needs to be spoken once," the military’s spokesman said in his opening remarks.

“There was no damage at our end in Balakot. We took local and foreign media there to show them [the truth],” he went on to say while referring to Indian air strikes on February 26th.

“We will facilitate Indian media if they choose to come to Balakot to see the truth,” he added.

Kashmir problem

Major General Ghafoor said that support for the Kashmiri people "runs in our blood."

"Support for our Kashmiri brethren runs in our blood. We will do whatever it takes for their independence.”

"If India is sincere for peace in the region, they should hold talks and resolve the Kashmir issue," he added.

Madrassahs reforms

Over 30,000 madrassahs in Pakistan in which 2.5 million children study, he said.

In 1947, there were 247 seminaries. The number surged to 2,861 in 1979, and from the 1980s to 2019 it has increased to over 30,000. “We found that less than 100 madrassahs are teaching extremism to children.”

The religious institutions have their own system of operations. About 70% of the madrassahs charge Rs1,000 per student, 25% charge Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 and five percent charge Rs15,000 to Rs20,000.

We want to bring them into the mainstream, he remarked. We have decided to bring them under education ministry. The madrassahs fell under the industries ministry previously, he said.

“We, however, need money for this,” he said. “Funds worth Rs2 billion are needed for this process and after that, we will need Rs1 billion every year for maintaining the system.”

“Action against terrorist structure in Pakistan"

Pakistan has conducted 1,237 kinetic operations and 100 intelligence-based operations, killing over 17,000 terrorists.

Similarly, he remarked that 70 countries are sharing intelligence right now regarding the arrests and repatriation of such terrorists.

Over 81,000 Pakistanis were killed or injured in these events, he said.  At a time when your army is involved in kinetic operations — we had to move towards the Eastern border three times due to escalation — it couldn’t concentrate on our operations, he explained.