- Says there is difference between fundamentalist, extremist: ISPR chief
Maj-General Ghafoor says not every fundamentalist is a terrorist; no safe havens of terrorists exist due to successful security operations
KARACHI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday that Pakistan army is a national army and that religion is a private matter of an individual.
The ISPR director general’s comments come days after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar from the floor of the National Assembly called for a ban on induction of Ahmadis in the army.
Addressing students of the University of Karachi during his visit to the campus, Major General Asif Ghafoor said that “in order to be Muslims, we don’t have to chant slogans, but prove, through our deeds, what we believe in. If we adhere to the principles of Islam, the world will recognise Pakistan as an Islamic country.”
He said that “one does not have to prove to the world that one is a Muslim; it is between one and the Almighty.”
Differentiating between terrorism and fundamentalism, the ISPR DG said that not every fundamentalist was a terrorist, as “I am also a fundamentalist.” “(Likewise) not every terrorist relates himself with fundamentalism,” he said, “Western countries and Indians are also fundamentalists.”
“If I’m someone who wants everyone to view the world through my perspective, then I’ll not be called a fundamentalist but an extremist,” Ghafoor said.
“If I force others to agree to my ideologies, then I’d be called as the one who is prone to violence or terrorism,” he said.
“I do not have to prove to the world that I am a Muslim; it is between me and Almighty Allah,” he said. In order to be Muslims, “we don’t have to chant slogans, but prove through our deeds what we believe in,” he said. “If we adhere to the principles of Islam, the world will recognise Pakistan as an Islamic country.”
The ISPR director general stressed that Pakistan was one of the most beautiful creations of the Almighty and it was valued the most geographically as well. “When someone wants destruction of a country, then it targets its security forces first.”
He termed it fortunate to be able to visit the campus, saying he was surprised to notice the number of women students being relatively higher than men. “It was said that Soviet Union’s arrival in Afghanistan posed a threat to Islam,” he said.
“The Soviet Union was ousted with the assistance of the US,” he said. However, he added that the US launched an attack on Afghanistan following 9/11. “When those fighting the US did not find refuge in Afghanistan, they entered Pakistan,” he also said.
“We successfully completed Zarb-e-Azb security operation; we systematically cleansed our areas of the terrorists and today, there are no safe havens of terrorists in the country,” Major General Ghafoor said.