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‘You May Start War, We Will End It’

by Newsweek Pakistan

In last press conference as ISPR head, Maj. Gen. Ghafoor says he considers it an ‘honor’ that Indians are happy at his exit

The Pakistan Army is fully capable of ‘surprising’ India in case of any misadventure, outgoing spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday, as he warned Delhi that it may start a war, but Islamabad would be the one to end it.

In his final press conference as head of the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate, Ghafoor told journalists that no power on earth could defeat a united Pakistan. Referring to recent statements by Indian P.M. Narendra Modi in which he claimed Indian forces could make Pakistan “bite the dust” in less than 10 days, Ghafoor said Delhi’s leadership was once again making irresponsible statements.

“How can an army which could not defeat 8 million Kashmiris in the past 71 years, defeat 207 million Pakistanis?” he said, adding, “We have said this before, and I am saying it again: You may start a war, but we will be the ones to end it.”

The military spokesman used his last press conference to reiterate that Pakistan wanted peace in the region. There is “no victory in war; humanity always loses,” he said, but warned that any imposed conflict would be met with a befitting response.

“In February 2019, a Pakistan-India war was knocking at our doors but the Pakistan Army’s preparedness and effective response paved the way for peace. All three services proved themselves competent,” he said, crediting Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s “superior military strategy” for saving South Asia from a major, drawn out conflict.

Discussing the ongoing lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir by New Delhi, Ghafoor urged the Indian leadership to halt its atrocities in India-administered Kashmir, reiterating that any adverse situation could engulf the entire region.

Reports of the outgoing Army spokesman’s exit—who was particularly active on social media—had prompted much glee from India; a fact Ghafoor was well aware of. He said he considered it an “honor that Indians are happy” that he leaving this post.

He said Army chief Gen. Bajwa considered the security and development of Pakistan as his topmost priority, and had helped elevate its status among the comity of nations. Praising Bajwa’s “historic measures,” he said the Army chief had made “important and difficult decisions” for peace in the country. “Raddul Fasaad has been the most challenging operation and is a crucial element to secure lasting peace,” he added.

Ghafoor also referred to the ‘Bajwa doctrine,’ saying it desired a peaceful Pakistan and South Asia, without any compromise on national security. He said the Army chief had backed religious harmony and madrassah reforms, as well as securing the Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders.

Lauding Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, Ghafoor said the country was rightly proud of their capabilities. He said the ISI, the Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau had jointly foiled many terrorist attempts targeting Pakistan. “ISI is among the most well recognized intelligence agencies in the world,” he added.

Thanking the media, the nation and social media users, Ghafoor concluded his final press conference by saying every citizen of Pakistan had a commitment to the motherland, its soil and fellow countrymen, and “to our Kashmiri brethren.”

He also sought to dismiss perceptions that he had ever spoken against official policy. “A military spokesperson can never speak in contrast to the policy [of the armed forces],” he added.

Maj. Gen. Ghafoor will be replaced by his successor, Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar, and will now take charge as the General Officer Commanding Okara.

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