Army launches operation in tribal areas targeting ISIS

DG ISPR rejects conspiracy allegation

Addressing a press conference on the launch of a new military operation in Khyber Agency, the army spokesperson faced a barrage of queries related to the country's political situation despite his repeated refusals to get into any controversy.

DG ISPR said that Pakistan Army is not directly linked with joint investigation team (JIT).

"It is a sub-judice matter and the Supreme Court will make its decision in the case", he said. "If the Afghan army was capable then maybe the issue would be resolved sooner", he said. The army wants rule of law and constitution in the country, he responded to a question.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor announced the launch of operation Khyber-4 under Radd-ul-Fasaad to "wipe out terrorists" in the Rajgal Valley area of Khyber Agency on Sunday.

"We are working brick by brick to bring normalcy back to Pakistan with the support and in support of other institutions", he said.

He reiterated that Daesh has no presence in Pakistan but the area, next to the Afghan border, is being used by militants affiliated to it.

"This operation was necessary because Daesh is getting established there and we have to stop the influence of Daesh spreading into Pakistani territory through the Rajgal valley", Ghafoor said, referring to a valley surrounded by mountains reaching up to 14,000 feet.

Over 7,000 IBOs have been conducted, and 22 terrorists killed in these operations, the DG ISPR said.

LoC violations: The situation along the Line of Control (LoC) has been "especially tense", Maj Gen Ghafoor said, quoting 580 ceasefire violations in this year alone.

The LoC violations appeared to be spurred by the heated political struggle for freedom in India-held Kashmir, Ghafoor said, adding that the intensification of cross-border firing, particularly in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, showed that India is "scared" and trying to divert attention away from the Kashmir struggle.

The ISPR chief lamented that the Indian army has the choice of opening fire on civilian areas whereas the Pakistan Army can not do that to Kashmiris across LoC.

He said the entire border will be fenced and it would be kept under electronic and manual vigil permanently by constructing forts and posts after every 1.5 km distance.

To a question, he said the Chief of Army Staff General Qammar Javed Bajwa will take a final decision on the mercy plea of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav at the earliest.

In reply to a question, Maj General Ghafoor said that the JIT members worked with honesty and dedication.

While ghafoor said that the IG has a strong network in Pakistan, however, said the military, the Islamists are strengthening their position in Afghanistan, although IG there is still not as powerful as in the middle East.

He added that splinter groups of TTP adopting the bandwagon of Daesh in Pakistan are already being taken care of by the security forces.

All eyes are fixed on the apex court as the future course of the case is likely to be determined today. Regarding the 17 terrorists nabbed in Parachinar, he said that their case in the military court would be fast-tracked.

At the end of his press conference, the ISPR chief relayed a message from the army chief: "We are building peace in our country, brick by brick, moving from relative stability towards enduring peace. For this, army shall continue to perform its role in and with support of all other state institutions".

Ghafoor stated that terrorists are targeting easy targets. "People who believe that the army is doing its best for the country are not part of a campaign to discredit the institution on social media", he said, adding that those who believe otherwise were under the foreign influence.

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