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ISLAMABAD: The outgoing head of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, on Thursday said that he considers it "an honour that Indians are happy" on his exit from the role.
Maj Gen Ghafoor will be replaced by his successor Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar and will take charge as the General Officer Commanding Okara.
Addressing his last press conference as the ISPR chief in Islamabad — an off-camera event — he thanked reporters for their services over the years and hailed the role played by the media overall in Pakistan's war against terrorism.
With regard 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, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the 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 said that the Indian government and leadership are once more making "irresponsible statements".
"How can an army which could not defeat 8 million Kashmiris in the past 71 years, defeat 207 million Pakistanis?" he asked.
Maj Gen Ghafoor said there was "no victory in war; humanity always loses". "We will give a befitting response if war is imposed upon us," he added.
On his last day as the military's spokesperson, Maj Gen Ghafoor recalled the events from last year when India and Pakistan were on the brink of war.
"In February 2019, a Pakistan-India war was knocking at our doors but the Pakistan Army's preparedness and effective response paved the way for peace. All three services proved themselves competent," he said.
Appreciating the progress in Pakistan's standing in the international arena, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that 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," he said.
Praise for Gen Bajwa
He said Gen Bajwa's "military diplomacy" had exalted Pakistan's standing among the nations of the world.
Praising Gen Bajwa's "historic measures" he said that the army chief had made "important and difficult decisions" for peace in the country.
"Raddul Fasaad has been the most challenging operation and is a crucial element to secure lasting peace."
He also spoke of Gen Bajwa's role in promoting religious harmony and madressah reforms as well as in securing the Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders. "The Bajwa doctrine is about bringing peace to the country and the region without compromising on national security," he said.
He said the nation owes a lot to the country's intelligence agencies. "ISI is among the most well recognised intelligence agencies in the world."
Maj Gen Ghafoor said that as the military media wing's spokesperson he never gave his personal opinion on any matter. "A military spokesperson can never speak in contrast to the policy [of the armed forces]."
He thanked the nation for their support, making a special mention of "youth on media". "We all have one oath of loyalty and that is to our nation and to our Kashmiri brethren. InshaAllah we will fulfil this promise.
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