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Top Story

November 3, 2018
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Don’t drag army into legal battles

Top Story

November 3, 2018

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RAWALPINDI: The Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor, on Friday said the Aasia Bibi case is a legal issue but unfortunately the military is being dragged into the issue.

In an interview with the state-run PTV, Gen Ghafoor said the armed forces are tolerating the situation and they should not be compelled to take steps allowed under the Constitution and law. “We are tolerating undue criticism of the armed forces and their officers but actions can also be taken as per the Constitution and law,” he said.

He pointed out that love for the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon) is part of every Muslim’s faith and there could not be any compromise on that. “Nothing can be ignored if it comes to dignity and respect of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him),” he maintained. However, he said Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance, as the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) have also emphasised the same.

Responding to a question about the role of the armed forces in maintaining law and order, Maj Gen Ghafoor said let the armed forces do their job of eliminating terrorism and not bring the situation to a stage where they (armed forces) have to fulfill their responsibilities. He said the armed forces would decide when the case came to them. “Presently, negotiations are going on at the level of government and the government has its own tiers of application including the police, the civil armed forces and the Rangers.

“If the armed forces are contacted, we will give suggestions or whatever directives are given by the prime minister,” he said, but still, he stressed, the armed forces should be allowed to do the job in which they are busy and they should not be compelled and brought to a stage where they have to act as allowed by the Constitution and law.

The military spokesman at the same time called upon the stakeholders that negotiations are going on and there might be ups and downs but the focus should be on improvement and solution. Commenting on the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death on the blasphemy charges, Maj Gen Ghafoor said, “Bibi’s case was heard in the courts for 10 years.” “It is a legal matter and it will be better if the law is allowed to take its course on the matter,” Major General Ghafoor added.

The DG ISPR further said the country is facing a law and order situation and the religious parties are staging protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict in Aasia Bibi case. He said as far the feelings of Muslims, particularly of Pakistanis are concerned, they have a relation of love and devotion with the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). “There should be no doubt that there can be any compromise on love and respect for the Holy Prophet (Peace e Upon Him),” he said, adding there would certainly be feelings against the person whosoever committed blasphemy. He said as far as the case of Aasia is concerned, it is a legal process and recently the Supreme Court had taken decision against the verdicts of the high court and trial court.

In this connection, he said the Supreme Court has admitted a review petition against the verdict and the date of hearing would also be soon announced. “I appeal to all the religious parties that let the petition which might have been admitted due to their protest, be heard and let us wait what decision is taken and let the legal process be completed,” he said. He said it is the desire of the Pakistan Army that the issue is resolved peacefully and in a legal way without deterioration of law and order situation. He advised the people against criticising the army. "We are close to winning the war against terrorism and our attention should not be diverted," Major General Ghafoor said.

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