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News Analysis |

Director-General of the ISPR announced the successful completion of Operation Khyber 4 in the Rajgal valley, which was launched last month in order to forestall ISIS-K. Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor delved on the operation in a tell-all press conference on Monday.”We have achieved our ground objectives in the Rajgal and Shawal valleys,” said the two-star artillery general.

Giving out further details of the operation, General Asif said that 2 soldiers of the Pakistan Army were martyred and 15 injured during the operation, while claiming the achievement of the set military objectives of the operations.

Sensing what was in the offing for Pakistan, the two-star general extensively delved on Pakistan’s anti-terrorism drive.

Last month, the Pakistan Army launched Khyber 4 in a bid to dispossess the ISIS-K from its potential sources of strength in locations and remnant networks of Pakistani militants in Khyber Agency.

Read more:Trump slams Pakistan; calls upon India to help in Afghanistan

The Pakistani narrative

General Asif discussed a wide range of issues including those related to politics but the main thrust of the press conference was on Pakistan’s fight against terror. Perhaps, the narrative was poignantly spread a day before Trump announced his plans to get tough with Pakistan. Sensing what was in the offing for Pakistan, the two-star general extensively delved on Pakistan’s anti-terrorism drive.

Responding to a question on US policy in South Asia the general responded:”Although pressure may increase, Pakistan is a sovereign state and will make decisions in its own interest, and will try to cater to regional interests to the best of its ability.”

He implored upon the world to give one example of an army which has defeated terrorism like Pakistan, adding that one off incidents will take place.

Pakistan has implored upon the international community to recognize its sacrifices in the war on terror. Pakistan has lost a lot in men and material in this war. Military operations have been coupled with many developmental efforts in the affected areas. Pakistan has also engaged in peace efforts in Afghanistan but still has been doubted.

Read more:Pakistan looks for realignment as Indo-US alliance strengthens

He said that Pakistan has contributed meritoriously in the war on terror; it has gone the extra mile in a bid to flush out militancy from its soil. He implored upon the world to give one example of an army which has defeated terrorism like Pakistan, adding that one off incidents will take place.

Countering US’ oft-repeated allegations of harboring the Haqqani Network, the general said:” No organized infrastructure of any terrorist organization exists in Pakistan” as all areas had been cleared by the army.

In his speech today, Trump berated Pakistan for providing safe havens to militants while warning that this policy must change soon.

“We had a very candid discussion [with the visiting delegations], and we made clear how Pakistan has acted indiscriminately against all terrorists. There are no terrorist hideouts in Pakistan,” he said.

“We have operated against all terrorists, including the Haqqani network, and they were given certain evidence. But there is global politics, there is regional politics, India is playing a role,” he asserted.

The success of Indian diplomacy was evident when today Trump called upon ‘the world’s largest’ democracy to shoulder responsibilities in Afghanistan.General Asif criticized the designation of hizbul Mujahideen as a terrorist organization, reminding the US that the Kashmiri struggle is legitimate and recognized by the UN;hence its equation with terrorism is incorrect.

“Eight of the last nine suicide attacks here were of Afghan origin and backed by RAW and NDS. We share all evidence and progress is being made,” he said alluding to Indian support to ISIS in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office has thus far not spoken on the new Afghan-Pak strategy , something which needs to be done pretty soon.

Responding to a question on hitting sanctuaries inside Afghanistan, the general said that both countries are sovereign and hence there are legal implications in crossing the borders.”We took action in the border belt area at the cost of certain reservations from Afghanistan; but we cannot take action against terrorist infrastructure deep inside Afghanistan as a responsible country, as it is a sovereign country and has their own force, and the Resolute Support mission is also there.”

Read more:Pakistan Army engagement in Middle East: Walking a fine line between…

The long press conference was important, for it gave a Pakistani version to a cross section of the media including international. Pakistan is losing out on the war of narratives which is negatively affecting the country’s clout despite the very many sacrifices it has rendered.The Foreign Office has thus far not spoken on the new Afghan-Pak strategy , something which needs to be done pretty soon.

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