Pakistan 'facilitated' Afghan peace deal, says army spokesman

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar speaks during a press conference at the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy: ISPR)
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Updated 28 February 2020

Pakistan 'facilitated' Afghan peace deal, says army spokesman

  • Babar Iftikhar rejects rumors that US-Taliban peace deal may be delayed
  • Underlines the army’s success in eliminating militancy

ISLAMABAD: Two days before the signing of a US-Taliban deal, Pakistan said on Thursday it had done its best to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
“There will be positive results from this deal. Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan. We are hoping for the best,” military spokesman Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar told reporters at the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The US and Afghan Taliban are due to sign the peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. 
The army spokesman added that Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan is “cordial” as there are no reasons for it to turn sour.
As Thursday’s conference was Iftikhar’s first since he took office in January, he underlined the army’s success in eliminating militancy and restoring normality in Pakistan. As evidence of the success, he cited increasing tourism activity and the return of international cricket to the country. 
The ongoing Pakistan Super League is held on home soil for the first time, as security concerns had caused most games in previous years to be played abroad.
The army spokesman also said Pakistan does not seek open conflict with India, but is fully prepared to respond to any misadventure.
“There is no space for war between two nuclear powers, as this will have uncontrollable and unintended consequences. Things will spiral out of control,” he said, adding that the military is “prepared for all scenarios” and will “effectively respond” if there is any challenge to Pakistan’s security and integrity.
The statement comes exactly a year after two Indian fighter jets were downed for violating Pakistan’s airspace in an operation dubbed “Swift Retort” on Feb. 27, 2019.


Council of Islamic Ideology endorses suspension of congregational prayer

Updated 02 April 2020

Council of Islamic Ideology endorses suspension of congregational prayer

  • Chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz says relatives of COVID-19 victims should be allowed to attend the funeral prayers
  • Says no group or sect was responsible for spreading the coronavirus in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Thursday endorsed the government's decision to suspend congregational prayer of more than five people to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the country.
After holding an emergency meeting in Islamabad to review the situation created by the global pandemic, the council chairman, Dr. Qibla Ayaz, addressed a news briefing wherein he highlighted the sanctity of human life in Islam.
According to an official handout circulated by the council that works as a constitutional body responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic matters to the government, the CII head noted that it was not right to consider that mosques had been shut down.
However, he added that the government's decision to limit the number of worshippers must be honored by people under the existing circumstances.
He also urged the administration not to treat religious clerics harshly and seek their assistance on the matter.
The council chairman noted that COVID-19 was not spread by any sect or group, and it was not right to blame the pilgrims or members of the Muslim missionary movement for the outbreak.
He said that the victims of the virus should be buried in accordance with their religious beliefs, adding that the bodies should be washed with precautionary care and the relatives of the deceased individuals should be allowed to participate in the funeral prayers.
Ayaz also noted that those who lose their lives to the infectious respiratory disease should be called martyrs and buried with respect.
The council chairman emphasized it was important to help minority religious communities in Pakistan, urging devout individuals with financial means to use their money set aside for religious rituals and activities to help people facing economic hardships.
He also noted that mosques should act like community centers to assist the unemployed and needy.