WASHINGTON: Pakistan has a zero tolerance for Daish and the terrorist group has no acceptance in the country, DG ISPR Lt. General Asim Bajwa said on Thursday, saying a global response is needed to deal with the global threat posed by the terrorist group also known as ISIL.
Briefing reporters about the visit of the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to Washington, the DG ISPR said the Army Chief held discussions with US’s top civilian and military leadership on issues ranging from defense and military cooperation to issues of regional security and stability, including the long-running Kashmir dispute with India.
On the question of Daish or ISIL, the DG ISPR said that as also mentioned by the army chief, Daish was a global threat and needed a global response to be defeated.
“There is a zero tolerance for Daish in Pakistan. Not even a shadow of Daish will be allowed in Pakistan,” the DG ISPR said, adding that the Pakistani society has totally rejected it and there was no acceptance of the terror group in Pakistan. He said that action is expected against any visibility of Daish in Pakistan.
Lt. General Bajwa said that the whole world has recognized that Daish was a threat but it was centered in the Middle East and has elements in Afghanistan.
He said that Daish tried to raise its voice in Pakistan at a time when there was already a crackdown underway against terrorists and space for militants was squeezing. “People were already fed up with terrorism and there was no acceptance for it in the society and they will be defeated in coming days,” he added.
The DG ISPR gave details of the meetings between the army chief and the top civilian and military leadership of the United States, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and the top military leadership, besides US lawmakers.
“All meetings were very positive and discussions were held in a very cordial atmosphere,” DG ISPR said and added that the focus of the visit was on defense and military-to-military relations but discussions were also held in the larger context, including economy and people-to-people contact.
“There is a clear regard and respect for Pakistan and for Pakistan’s armed forces and progress will be visible in all areas of discussion,” he said.
To a question, the DG ISPR said that talks with Vice President which continued for about two hours covered Pakistan-US relations and the regional security and issues of stability.
Responding to a question, Lt. Gen. Bajwa said that Pakistan’s clear perspective was presented during discussions with the US civilian and military leadership and, “The acceptance and understanding of Pakistan’s perspective was visible more than ever. The biggest thing is that your perspective is being recognized and there is also an understanding and discussions were held based on that understanding.”
Discussions were also held with regard to India and the situation on the Eastern border and LoC and the long-running Kashmir dispute. He said that the US leadership has been told that the long-term security and stability in the region required long-term solution, which is the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
On Afghanistan, DG ISPR said that everyone supports the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process and recalled that the process had already begun with the Murree process when it was derailed.
“The process had taken off and had it continued, there would have been much progress made by now,” he added.
The DG ISPR said there was an identification of “detractors and spoilers” but all the serious stakeholders feel the urgency and seriousness of the matter.
He said there was a clear realization that the Afghan reconciliation process could not be delayed further and there was a seriousness and urgency in moving forward this process. All stakeholders need to support this reconciliation process, he added.
The DG ISPR said that US leaders paid glowing tributes to Pakistan and the armed forces and there was a clear recognition and acknowledgement of the opportunities created both inside and outside Pakistan because of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation.
To a question, he said that after the initiation of operation in North Waziristan, many terrorist elements fled to the tribal region of Khyber which is an equally difficult terrain. He said the operations achieved successes in Khyber also.
He said many terrorists have taken shelter in a pocket, Shawal, a border region and which was now being cleared. The DG ISPR said that were some difficulties there as Pak-Afghan border is long and porous and coordination is being done with the Afghan leadership to seal this pocket and eliminate terrorists from that area.
He said no time-frame can be given at this time for the military operation but the objectives will be achieved as soon as possible. The DG ISPR said in addition to Zarb-e-Azb, there were some 12,000 intelligence-based operations in cities also against sleeper cells and abettors.
“The operation against terrorists will not end mid-way and it will reach its logical conclusion,” Lt. Gen. Bajwa said.
To a question on Pakistan’s support in fighting the Daish terrorist group, the DG ISPR said that we are already cooperating in the fight against terrorism in the region in a larger framework. He said best thing Pakistan could offer was the amount of experience and that the world was benefitting from Pakistan’s experience.
He said that Pakistan has already played an important role in the global fight against terrorism and this will continue in the future.