| Major General Babar Iftikhar says use of deep fake technologies to malign institutions not acceptable | Govt has to take notice of language being used against military | No Martial Law as country’s future rests in democracy


ISLAMABAD   -   Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar categorically said on Thursday that there was no word of “conspiracy” mentioned in the communiqué issued after the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by the then Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 31.

The chief spokesman of Pakistan Army stated this while responding to a question during a press held at ISPR headquarters to share details about the issues discussed during the Formation Commanders Conference held early this week.

Major General Babar Iftikhar, when asked about the stance of the military on ‘foreign conspiracy’ theory being narrated by former prime minister Imran Khan, said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif can declassify the minutes of the meetings to find  word foreign conspiracy in it.

“As far as military response about the NSC meeting is considered, that stance, in that meeting was fully given, and then a statement was issued ... which clearly says what was concluded in that meeting. “The words used are in front of you ... as I said ... the words used are clear. Is there any word such as conspiracy used in it? I think not.” General Iftikhar said the minutes of the NSC meeting can be declassified if the government decides.

“Whenever Prime Minister (Shehbaz Sharif) calls the parliamentary national security committee meeting and invites the military leadership then, the military leadership will attend the meeting,” he added.

Responding to another question, Major General Babar Iftikhar made it clear that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa was neither seeking nor interested to get extension in his services and he would retire on November 29, this year after the completion of his term.

When asked about rumours of any deal with opposition parties during Imran Khan’s tenure, the DG ISPR rejected such reports as baseless.

Responding to  questions about the language being used against the Pakistan Army in a political public meeting, DG ISPR  termed  it most unfortunate and  asked all political leaders to refrain from using such language against military institutions.

“The government has to take notice of such language being used against the military”, General Babar Iftikhar said. “If anyone has evidence of Army involvement in politics, please do share with us. “Our actions speak louder”, he said.

He said it is not the Pakistan Army which would give any NRO to any one, and questioned whether whatever happened was in accordance with the Constitution.

He said ex-prime minister Imran Khan should be provided comprehensive security cover. “We have so many security challenges, and therefore it is not fair to put blame on the Pakistan army for anything which is happening in politics”, He said.

Responding to another question the DG ISPR said the Army Chief did not meet the Prime Minister on the night of 9-10 April as claimed by BBC and termed the BBC report as a pack of lies.

Army Chief went to the PM office before this and was in fact invited by the then Prime Minister Imran Khan with other officials and  three possible scenarios were discussed, which were not given by Army Chief and one of the options was resignation by Imran Khan, and holding of early elections on which the opposition did not agree.

Major General Babar Iftikhar rejected reports that on the night of April 9-10 April imposition of Martial Law and said opening of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High court offices was their own decision keeping in view the rapid developments taking place. “Courts are free and independent, are they under us”, Major General Babar Iftikhar questioned.

He said Pakistan’s survival is in democracy and armed forces fully supports the democratic process in the country and would continue to do so as it’s their constitutional responsibility. He ruled out any false flag operation on eastern border and said now there is no such threat. However he said the Pakistan army is the target of an enemy campaign on social media which is being countered well and notice had been taken.

Answering another question, he made it clear that there is no division is Pakistan army and there is no such concept, Pakistan army is the name of unity and there is no change in this concept; there is no division in Pakistan Army. He said Pakistan Army had excellent working relations with the then Prime Minister Imran Khan and would remain good.

He said public meetings and rallies are beauty of democracy which was not possible earlier due to high wave of terrorism. “Pakistan army along with other law enforcement agencies fought against the terrorism and provided safe environment for such meetings”, Major General Babar said.

Earlier in his opening statement at the press conference, DG ISPR said that Formation Commanders Conference addressed all important issues which are under discussion and creating chaos in the society.

“The start was the Formation Commanders Conference where participants were given detailed briefing on security and intelligence brief”, he said. DG ISPR said the importance of Formation Commanders Conference is that it represents the complete army and its voice of Army as this is attended by all Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and entire formation Commanders of Army.

“The messages were clear. Army is focused in professional duties. Mention war on terror as Pakistan’s war and will continue till elimination of last terrorist”, he asserted.

He said despite the challenging environment, the army ensured a safe and secure environment for 23 March, OIC conference and Pak-Australia Cricket series.  He also mentioned contributions of the Pakistan Army for international Peace Keeping Operations, rule of law and upholding constitution and democracy was the main theme that army stands for and the same was endorsed by formation Commanders.

He said national interest can only be served when all work within bounds of constitution and democratic norms and the support of the people is the bedrock of the military and no effort will be allowed to create a wedge in that.

He said constructive criticism is healthy but rumours and propaganda campaigns won’t be allowed, social media campaigns to target the military and its leadership to divide won’t be accepted. “ Use of deep fake technologies for creating fake audio to malign institutions would not be acceptable, Let the law take its course as society only develops while following rule of law”, he said.

“We as individuals and as a society should strengthen the institutions to be able to counter all challenges as a nation. The institutions are very important and strengthen and let these institutions work as per law and constitution”, he remarked.