Islamabad: Pakistan Army launched on Sunday a massive operation Khyber-IV under Radd-ul-Fasaad (RuF) in the Rajgal valley of KhyberAgency aimed to wipe out terrorists, Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DGISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said. .
Addressing a press conference the DG ISPR said, the ‘khyber -1v operation in the valley is meant to clear the small and big pockets of terrorists of various banned outfits hiding in the area and to counter Daesh which has been gaining ground on the other side of the border in Afghanistan.
He said Rajgal area , spreading over about 250 sq km area and has about 8 peaks, ranging from 12000 feet to 14000 feet, the most critical area in FATA, adding that there is no timeline for the operation as yet.
DG ISPR made it clear that Pak. army had informed Afghan forces ahead of the launch of the Khyber-4 operation in Rajgal which the Afghan army would be able to support on their side of the border if they wished.
Asif Ghafoor observed that reports of a joint border operation with Afghan forces had surfaced during a visit made by a top-level United States Congressional delegation. “No one wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,” the DG ISPR said, adding, “We need to bring peace in our country first.”
Clarifying the reports, Ghafoor said, “The true meaning of this joint operation is when both forces conduct operations at the same time. There is a coordinated and complementary operation on their respective sides of the border.”
Maj Gen Ghafoor reiterated that the purpose of fencing along the Afghan border was aimed at better border management. “It is not possible for any foreign forces to set foot on Pakistani soil.” He added that the Shawal area will also be cleared from terrorists soon.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, in response to many questions asked about the army’s involvement in the Supreme Court-sanctioned joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Panamagate case, said there is no direct army involvement in the investigation.
“The JIT was made by the Supreme Court. Two of its members belong to the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence. It is a subjudice case, and it will go to court.”
“There is no direct army involvement in the JIT,” he asserted, adding that the “Pakistan Army will continue playing its role for the security of Pakistan with other institutions.”
While giving the details about the line of control (LOC) he said, LoC has been especially tense since 204 and there has been 580 ceasefire violations in this year alone. There were 382 in 2016, 248 in 2015 and 315 in 2014, he said.
Current ceasefire violations have resulted in the highest number of civilian casualties than in the past, the DG ISPR said.
The continuous LoC violations from India is aimed to divert attention away from the Kashmiris legitimate struggle.
“India targets civilians in ceasefire violations,” Ghafoor said. “The Pakistan Army doesn’t think this is a good method. We fire towards bunkers where we think the firing is coming from. We try to keep civilian casualties to a minimum,” he added.
When questioned about the case of convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, the DG ISPR said that the Research and Analysis Wing agent’s mercy appeal is pending before the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa. “All evidence and case proceedings are being examined by the army chief, and he will make a decision on the basis of merit and justice,” he said.
Terming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a very critical project for the progress of Pakistan, the DG ISPR said the armed forces would give it complete security and will not let it fail at any cost.
The DG ISPR read out a message from Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa during the press conference: “We are building peace in our country brick by brick and moving from relative stability towards enduring peace. For this, the army should continue to perform its role with support of all other state institutions.”