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PTM Being Funded by India, Afghanistan: DG ISPR

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army on Monday said that the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has received funding from the intelligence agencies of India and Afghanistan. therefore legal action would be taken against them. 

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor made these views while addressing a press conference,

The ISPR chief then talked about the grievances put forth by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).

“When we took action against the TLP (Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan), people said that why is action not taken against PTM as they speak up too much as well.

“The first person to engage with them [PTM] was me. I was told to engage with them by the army chief and I was given one order by the army chief: ‘Do not use a harsh hand with them.’

“I met with [PTM leader] Mohsin Dawar, and they had three demands: They said that mines and unexploded bombs still exist [in tribal areas] […] Their demand was genuine, we created 48 teams and 45 per cent of these areas were cleared. [As many as] 101 casualties of the Pakistan Army also occurred in those areas while clearing them of those mines. We let those casualties happen as they happened in the line of duty.

“Their [PTM’s] next demand was about clearing away checkposts. Pak Army has lost thousands of soldiers at these checkpoints.

“[The issue of] missing persons were their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases.

“These demands were not even their [PTM’s] demands, the demands are of the people that live there.

“On the PTM website, they have got a number that states the number of funds they have collected from Pashtuns around the world. But tell us how much money did you get from the NDS (Afghan National Directorate of Security) to run your campaign? How much money did RAW (India’s Research and Analysis Wing) give you for the first dharna in Islamabad?

“[Superintendent of Police] Tahir Dawar is killed in Afghanistan, in what capacity did PTM talk to the Afghan government, and say that the [Pakistani] government should not be handed the body and the body should only be given to the Dawar tribe?

“Why did NDS give you funds for Arman Loni’s funeral and the dharna that followed? If you have these funds, why do you not use these funds for the development?

“When Arman Loni died, funeral prayers were offered for him in Afghanistan. But how is it that when 10 policemen lost their lives trying to protect 800 students giving police entry exams [in Balochistan], you did not go to the namaz-i-janaza for those 10 men. And no namaz-i-janaza was held for those 10 men in Afghanistan.

“When Loni died, the Afghan prime minister gave a statement in his favour and you [PTM] endorsed it.

“Those people who are playing with the people whose issues they have brought forward, I would like to tell them that their time is up. Their time is up.

“I would like to ask the PTM to provide me with another list, besides one of the missing persons, of all the strength of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that exists in Afghanistan, so that I could tally the two to see if any of the missing persons are actually sitting there.

He then delivered a message in Pushto to Pushto-speaking people, urging them to not be deceived by the people functioning against Pakistan’s interests.

Mainstreaming Madressahs 

Talking about Pakistan’s education system, Maj Gen Ghafoor regretted that 25 million children in Pakistan are currently out of schools.

“These children then go to madressahs, 30,000 of which exist in Pakistan at the moment. Out of these, less than 100 were found to be the kind that were pushing children towards extremism.

“So out of 30,000 only 100 are faulty and if these were shut, what will happen to the millions of children who go to these madrassahs.

“Today, madressahs offer eight years of studies in a Dars-i-Nizami. Then two more years to give them the title of Mufti. But when these children come out of these madressahs, what job opportunities await them?

“Some of these madressahs do offer some contemporary education and thus very few of these children qualify for some basic level jobs, like procuring a commission in the army.

“But 32.5m children do not have these opportunities. That is why we are trying to mainstream madressahs so that children studying there have the opportunity to become doctors and engineers just like the children studying in mainstream schools.

“This means that teachers will have to be employed in these madressahs. [And] this means funding, which was lacking in the past, but now that we are at the end of the war against terror, we will be able to reroute the funds towards this process and initially Rs2 billion will be required to run this programme and then Rs1 billion will be required each year for the programme’s upkeep. We will provide these funds so that these madressahs are mainstreamed and all of our children have equal opportunities.”

In his news conference in Rawalpindi, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) apprised media on national situation and affairs that have taken place in the last few months due to escalating Indo-Pak tensions.

“I first talked about Pak-India tensions on 21st February. India imposed allegations on Pakistan after Pulwama and we had responded that the country is not involved in any way to the attack”, he said, adding that it has two months since the scenario but India continues to come up with lies.

“Pakistan has always spoken the truth and will continue to speak it. Pakistan Air Force downed two fighter jets of India and exhibited its’ debris to the World. Indian Air Force shot down its own helicopter then hid its black box”, DG ISPR added.

Commenting on rumour surrounding the number of Indian pilots captured by Pakistani Army, he clarified that two reports of same Indian pilot’s arrest came, hence, the confusion may have surfaced.DG ISPR reiterated his stance on India’s false claim of shooting down an F-16 of Pakistan.

“If India shot our F-16 then where is it? Not only we foiled India’s attack but we also made the media watch it”, Major General Asif added.