“You May Start a War, But We Will Be the Ones to End It”: DG ISPR Before Bowing Out

DESPARDES — Pakistan military’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor will pass on the baton to his successor Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar on February 1 and take charge as the General Officer Commanding Okara.

On Thursday, the poker-faced General who belongs to the Infantry, addressed his last presser as the ISPR chief in Islamabad — an off-camera event, saying he considers it “an honor that Indians are happy” on his exit from the role.

The General said Pakistan Army “will always surprise the Indian armed forces”.

“We have said this before, and I am saying it again: You may start a war, but we will be the ones to end it.”

He thanked defense reporters for their services over the years while hailing the role played by the media overall in Pakistan’s war against terrorism.

The outgoing ISPR spokesperson — whose tenure saw couple of years of blow hot and blow cold albeit unpredictable events on both the eastern and western fronts — was responding to the recent comments made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he claimed that Indian forces were now capable of making Pakistan “bite the dust” in less than 10 days.

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“How can an army which could not defeat 8 million Kashmiris in the past 71 years, defeat 207 million Pakistanis?” the cool-headed and soft-spoken military spokesperson asked.

There was “no victory in war; humanity always loses”. “We will give a befitting response if war is imposed upon us,” he added.

Recalling the events from last year (post-Pulwama incident) when India and Pakistan were on the brink of war, the outgoing ISPR chief said Pakistan’s leadership responded to the threat of war in an admirable manner and the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s “superior military strategy” saved South Asia from a major conflict.

He credited the Army Chief with playing an important role in bringing about religious tolerance and madrassah reforms, as well as in securing the Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders.

Alluding to Army Chief’s vision of “enduring stability” in the country and the region, the outgoing ISPR spokesperson said, “The Bajwa doctrine is about bringing peace to the country and the region without compromising on national security,” he said.

The General said the nation owes a lot to the country’s intelligence agencies. “ISI is among the most well recognized intelligence agencies in the world.”

The General said the nation had moved from “negative relevance” 20 years ago to “positive relevance” in the world. He called on the nation to present a united front against the challenges the country faces, adding that “no world power” can defeat a united nation.

“A country does not fight with the force of its weapons, it does so with the might of its determination and the support of the people”.