Pakistan

DG ISPR to Taliban: Border fencing to continue as planned; denies deal with Nawaz Sharif

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Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar on Wednesday said that fencing of the Pak-Afghan border would continue as planned, adding that the blood of martyred soldiers was involved in erecting the fence.

Maj Gen Iftikhar made these remarks in Rawalpindi during a press conference, his first of 2022, scheduled to coincide with Kashmiri people’s Right to Self-Determination Day.

During the wide-ranging media talk on a myriad of issues relating to security and regional developments, the army spokesperson also discussed issues related to the Pak-Afghan border, including its fencing.

According to the DG ISPR, border fencing was being done in an effort to protect the people on both sides as well as to regulate trade. “The fence on the Pak-Afghan border is needed to regulate security, border crossing and trade. The purpose of this is not to divide the people, but to protect them.”

He also said that the security situation along the Western border was “challenging” during 2021. “The western border management, specifically the Pak-Afghan border … there are some specific local, operational and strategic dynamics and these are [being] addressed at the relevant level.”

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The DG ISPR said that the Pak-Afghan border fencing was 94 per cent complete, adding: “We are totally focused, and under the western border management regime, the work that is underway will be completed in some time.”

He said that the border management system would be made more effective with the passage of time. “The blood of our martyrs was spilled in erecting this fence. It is a fence of peace. It will be completed and will remain [in place].”

He also said that 67 new wings of Frontier Corps Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been established in 2021 to further strengthen border security. He added that a process to establish six more wings had been initiated.

When asked whether the government had protested with Afghanistan about recent incidents of damage to the border fence, the DG ISPR reiterated that western border management had “local and strategic dynamics”.

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The DG ISPR deemed the recent uprooting of the fence by Taliban fighters as “one or two localised problems”, which he said was being discussed by the governments of both the countries.

“We have very good relations. We understand each other and keep talking about different issues that keep surfacing. There is no problem, fencing is underway and will continue.”

Talk of deal with Nawaz ‘baseless speculation’

During the question and answers session, when asked to comment on rumours of a deal with PML-N’s self-exiled leader Nawaz Sharif, the DG ISPR said: “I will only say that all of this is baseless speculation.

“If anyone is talking about a deal, please ask them who is doing the deal. Where is the evidence of such a deal. There is no such thing,” he said.

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