Maintaining that the army has nothing to do with the politics in the country, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday urged not to speculate in this regard.
During a press conference, the DG ISPR was asked whether the army was standing with Prime Minister imran khan , in relation to the current political situation and his impending no-confidence vote. “I had clearly stated in my last press conference that the army has nothing do with politics,” he replied. “It is this way and it will remain this way.” He also requested that there “be no unnecessary speculations about this now”.
The statement comes a few hours after Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain painted the top opposition leadership as anti-army and linked their no-confidence motion to their long-standing unfulfilled desire to have political control over the institution. “Under the constitutional scheme,” the government’s spokesperson while replying to a question said, “The army always stands by the sitting government.” The army has to obey the Constitution, he added.
Major General Babar Iftikhar said an unarmed supersonic projectile object detected by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) since its flight from the Indian side crashed on Pakistan’s soil near Mian Chunnu. The ISPR DG told a media briefing that at 18:43 hours (6:43 p.m.) on March 9, the high speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the PAF Air Defence Operation System, which suddenly manoeuvred from its initial course and intruded into the Pakistani territory. The projectile ultimately fell near Mian Chunnu and damaged some civilian property, however, no loss of life was reported, he said. “Whatever caused this to happen, it is for the Indian to explain… it reflects very poorly on their part and could have resulted in a disaster,” he added.
Terming the object a supersonic missile, he said that a detailed inquiry is underway and further details will be provided soon but added that the object was definitely unarmed. “This [the object] was 100 kilometres inside India but we had picked it up… when its trajectory shifted towards Pakistan, our tactical and technical procedures were put in place… we knew from where it started [its flight] and where it was going to fall… as soon as it fell our forces reached the spot and later Pakistan Air Force took over… we had detected the object in a timely manner,” he added.
The army’s key spokesperson went on to say that despite India’s recklessness, fortunately, there were no casualties. “We detected [its trajectory] right from the start. We did not have any sensitive installations where it [the missile] fell.” While saying that Pakistan strongly protested against the incident, he highlighted that the flight path of this object endangered many international and domestic passenger flights, both in Indian and Pakistani air space.
Hinting that the incident was a possible error on the part of the Indians and not a deliberate action, he said that such tests and trials are routine practice but the explanation needed to be given by the neighbouring country. “It raises questions on the human resource working [on the Indian side] on such matters… it also raises the question on the technology being used [by India].”
The DG also made it clear that there was no sensitive installation in Mian Channu where the projectile fell.
Asked for more details about the object, he said “we are not claiming anything right now”. “As a responsible nation, we will wait for India to respond. We have given details of whatever we know right now. But it is for the Indians to explain what happened in Mian Channu.” “All our forces are alert to the threat and challenges that we face.” Answering a question regarding the recent terrorist activities in the country, Maj Gen Iftikhar said that there are a few terrorist outfits in Afghanistan and sometimes might be needed to control them.