Reports suggesting appointment of new ISI chief are baseless speculations: DG ISPR

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Reports about the appointment of a new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to replace Lt Gen Faiz Hamid are “baseless speculations” and there is no truth to them, the head of the military’s media affairs wing said on Monday.

Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar’s response came at a press conference in Rawalpindi where he was asked about reports on social media that Lt Gen Hamid was going to be replaced, possibly by former ISPR chief Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor. “There is no truth to such things. These are baseless speculations,” Maj Gen Iftikhar said, requesting that speculation be avoided on such issues. He clarified that appointments in the Pakistan Army, especially on the senior level, were not so “short-lived” and the tenure of the head of an institution usually lasted two years. “So this is completely baseless speculation,” he said. During the presser, the ISPR chief briefed reporters about achievements in counter-terrorism measures taken by the forces in recent times. Giving an overview of the dividends earned through Operation Raddul Fasaad, which was launched on February 22 (today) four years ago, the DG ISPR said this operation was not area-specific and its domain extended to the entire country. “The strategic intent of Raddul Fasaad was, and is, a peaceful, stable and normalised Pakistan where people’s confidence in the state is restored and terrorists and extremists are rendered completely ineffective by curtailing their freedom of action,” he said. Highlighting the role of the public in security operations, he added: “While armed forces fight terrorists, terrorism and extremism can only be defeated by the civil law enforcement agencies and society as a whole.” According to a “whole of nation approach, every Pakistani is a sepoy of Raddul Fasaad”, the ISPR chief said. The operation was started at a time when terrorists attempted to take refuge across the length and breadth of Pakistan after their infrastructure in the tribal areas was destroyed and after they suffered heavy losses in various operations, he said. “Considering this environment, Operation Raddul Fasaad was launched through a two-pronged strategy involving counterterrorism domain and counter violent extremism,” he said, adding that the basic cardinals of the counterterrorism plan were that the use of power is the privilege of the state only; stability on the western zone through an effective border management system; and ending terrorists’ support base across the country. Talking about the counter violent extremism part of the strategy, Maj Gen Iftikhar said “it is clear that an ideology can only be countered by a superior ideology.” In this context, he added, the efforts involved implementation of the National Action Plan, bringing the tribal areas into the national mainstream, and curbing extremist activities through assisting the government in educational, madressah and police reforms. He said Pakistan’s “grand strategy” in its war against terrorism was based on four concepts: “Clear, hold, build and transfer.”

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