Captured Indian pilot’s return showed Pakistan’s 'mature response' — military

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/File)
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Updated 30 October 2020

Captured Indian pilot’s return showed Pakistan’s 'mature response' — military

  • Major General Babar Iftikhar responds to an opposition politician who claimed the government released the prisoner due to fear of war
  • The spokesman says Pakistan gave India a ‘bloody nose’ that still hurts

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan released an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, after shooting down his fighter jet during an aerial dogfight over Kashmir in February 2019 to give peace a chance in the region, said the chief of the military’s media wing on Thursday, adding it was “misleading and disappointing” to attribute the country’s decision to anything but its “mature response” as a responsible state.
The statement of Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar came a day after former National Assembly speaker and senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that the government had released the Indian pilot due to fear of an imminent attack from India.
“A statement was given yesterday that tried to distort facts related to a national security issue,” Iftikhar said without naming anyone. “I am here to set the record straight.”
Addressing a news conference with “one-point agenda,” he said that Pakistan’s armed forces displayed their ability to respond to “Indian aggression” last year before releasing the captured pilot in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
“We gave them a bloody nose and it is still hurting,” he said while referring to Pakistan’s response to India’s violation of its airspace in February last year.
The former National Assembly speaker claimed on Wednesday that the government had asked parliamentary leaders to let Abhinandan go, predicting an attack from the country’s nuclear-armed neighbor.
However, Sadiq issued a clarification on Thursday, saying that Indian media was “misreporting” his statement.
Alluding to his words in the National Assembly, the DG ISPR said that the negative narrative was “directly affecting the national security” of Pakistan, adding that India was taking full advantage of it.
“This narrative is being used to minimize India’s defeat and loss,” he said. “It also amounts to creating undue controversy around Pakistan’s clear supremacy and victory over India, and I think this is not acceptable to any Pakistani.”
Asked about recent statements of opposition leaders against the military leadership, he said the armed forces were an organized institution and its rank and file could not be separated.
“No one can create differences between the rank and file of the armed forces,” he said. “There is complete unity and it will continue to remain that way.”
An 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has accused the security establishment of meddling in politics and helping Prime Minister Imran Khan’s rise to power in the 2018 general elections.
“This political polarization will continue. It will increase. There may emerge a situation where there is a severe constitutional crisis,” Adnan Rehmat, a political analyst, told Arab News. “The opposition would never have targeted state institutions if the government had not subjected its leaders to undue and unfair pressure.”

 

 

PML-N leaders, however, denied that they wanted a clash with any institution to make political gains.
“Our protests and struggle against the government is purely democratic and constitutional. We don’t intend to clash with our state institutions,” Malik Abrar Ahmed, a senior PML-N leader, told Arab News.
The country’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, also held a meeting with the prime minister on Thursday to discuss “professional matters pertaining to Pakistan Army, internal and external security situation,” according to the PM Office.


Cricket-Relaxed South Africa happy with security arrangements in Pakistan

Updated 18 January 2021

Cricket-Relaxed South Africa happy with security arrangements in Pakistan

  • This is South Africa’s first tour of Pakistan in 14 years
  • South Africa will play two tests and three Twenty20 Internationals in Pakistan 

Quinton de Kock has lauded the security arrangements laid out for South Africa on their first tour of Pakistan in 14 years and says the players are “a lot calmer” about the tour now they have arrived in the country and seen the measures first-hand.
South Africa will play two tests and three Twenty20 Internationals on their return to Pakistan for the first time since a militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.
“When we were coming here, it was the biggest concern, but when we landed and saw the amount of security, we became a lot calmer. Over the days it has become less of a worry and we have been focussed more on the cricket,” the South African captain told reporters on Monday.
“The measures they (the Pakistan government) have taken have allowed us to feel comfortable and just focus on preparing for the test series.
“Every corner is checked and all bases are covered. We feel safe and for now are just worrying about cricket.”
South Africa are confined to their hotel rooms outside of practice sessions, and De Kock has become the latest international player to question the sustainability of bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic due to the strain on the mental health of players.
“It’s something that is not easy. I’ve said before it will eventually catch up to some players on the emotional and mental side. You are trying to keep yourself mentally stable and to perform for your country all at once.
“I’ve only been home for maximum three weeks over the last six months. It’s been tough, but we soldier on because people back home want to watch you perform.”
The first test in Karachi starts on Jan. 26 and is followed by the second in Rawalpindi from Feb. 4.