Army launches Operation Khyber-4 in Rajgal Valley

DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi on Sunday

DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi on Sunday

"The JIT was made by the Supreme Court".

Answering another question, he said the matter of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was not related to the Army as it was formed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The ruling party also raised questions on the performance of the JIT members.

He said that Pakistan Army is a part of Pakistan and is working for the country's defence. "Gen Bajwa will take a final decision on the appeal of Kulbhushan Jadhav at the earliest".

"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.

The ISPR chief said Islamic State was gaining strength inside Afghanistan, which has prompted Pakistan to launch the operation.

Codenamed Khyber-4, the military operation will target militant hideouts in what Major General Asif Ghafoor called "the most critical area in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata)".

The DG ISPR informed that the valley, next to the Afghan border, is being used by Daesh and other local militant groups. He said worldwide border with Afghanistan will be fully secured to check infiltration of terrorists and to destroy their hideouts in our side of the border.

He said operation RUF, launched on February 22 this year with the aim to clear the pockets and signatures of the terrorists inclusive of the abettors, financiers and facilitators to achieve enduring peace. He said Afghan forces will have to strengthen its footprints on its soil to check the influence of terrorist outfits like DA'ISH. "The militant organisation's influence is growing on other side of the border", he added.

"No other force will have boots on the ground in our country".

Clarifying the reports about joint border operations with Afghan forces, the ISPR chief said, "True meaning of this [joint operation] is that both forces will conduct coordinated and complementary operations on their respective sides of the border and at the same time".

However, Ghafoor denied that Daesh has any organised structure present within the country.

He said that a major operation was carried out Rajgal Valley along Pakistan-Afghan border on Sunday morning.

As far as the situation within Afghanistan was concerned, he said that it was a well known fact that the security forces of brotherly and friendly nation were unable to tackle their internal situations.

He also referred to the ongoing phase-1 of the fencing the Afghan border, which is being done in collaboration with Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan Army cooperated during the census and is also ready to deal with the flood situation. "No one wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan". He said on average there will be a fort or check post after every 1.5 kilometres.

On sectarian attacks, he said there were 201 sectarian attacks in 2013 which have now fallen to only two this year.

DG ISPR stated that 46 operations were carried out under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad across Pakistan.

There have been 27 major operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 817 IBOs, he said.

He said the situation along the Line of Control (LOC) showed extraordinary trends recently, following the hot political situation inside India.

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, he said. "This indicates the Indian aim of diverting attention from political upheaval in Indian Occupied Kashmir", he claimed.

"The things are improving and we hope that these will further improve in the days to come", he said. He said the security forces of Pakistan are very vigilant to foil enemies' designs against CPEC.

"The entire country, the state's institutions, are all one on CPEC", he assured. "For this, the army should continue to perform its role with support of all other state institutions".

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