RAWALPINDI -- Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Monday the Pakistan Army aspired to resolve the issues faced by the people living in the tribal areas, but the stance taken by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) would no longer be accepted.
"In light of the Chief of Army Staff's directives, the forces will ensure that the masses don't face issues. Everything will be done under the constitution," he said in a news conference. "They have enjoyed their liberty."
The spokesperson said that the army had refrained from taking action against the PTM's controversial slogans because of its consideration of common Pashtuns who were being provoked.
"What kind of revenge are you talking about? What kind of revenge do you want to take with the army? No one can fight the state. We are refraining from taking action because we are taking into consideration the people being provoked, otherwise it's not difficult to deal with you," he added.
The DG ISPR said he was the first one who engaged with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement. "I was directed by the Army Chief to speak to the PTM and directed not to deal with them strictly."
"We worked on their genuine demands. We cleared the un-exploded bombs from the area. We deployed 48 teams, as much as 45 per cent area was cleared of mines. We launched awareness campaigns to tell people which areas they shouldn't visit because of the presence of un-exploded bombs," he said.
"We also suffered 101 casualties during the clear up operation."
The Pakistan army spokesperson questioned where were the PTM leadership when the forces were fighting against the Taliban militants in erstwhile FATA.
Their third demand was about 'missing persons', with the DG ISPR stating that the legal commission had identified nearly 2,500 cases.
'It's not their demand. The demand is of Pashtun brothers. The PTM leadership doesn't even live there. The local people have genuine problems there.'
Having commented on the three demands of the PTM, the DG ISPR then put the following questions to them and alleged that PTM received funds from Afghan security service, NDS and Indian spy agency, RAW.
How much funds have you collected in donations from abroad, isn't it more than what you have shown on the website?
22 March 2018 - how much funds NDS provided you to continue the sit-in?
Islamabad sit-in: How much funds RAW provided you?
April 18, 2018 - Who was Manzoor Pashteen's relative who went to the Indian...