Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, also known as ISPR and which functions as the PR wing of Pakistani military, Major General Asif Ghafoor, refuted news reports that Pakistani and Iranian security forces had carried out ‘joint patrolling’ along the Iran-Pakistan international border.
According to the tweet made by DG ISPR’s Twitter account on Monday, the news is ‘factually incorrect’ as there is no joint patrolling taking place at Pakistani borders.
Maj Gen Ghafoor clarified that coordinated patrolling is done by security forces at their respective sides of the border.
“There is no joint patrolling anywhere on Pakistani Borders. Patrolling/ operations if required are always on respective sides by respective forces through coordination,” the DG ISPR said in a tweet.
Deputy Commissioner Chagai Fateh Khan Khajjak reiterated the same, saying border security forces do not hold joint patrols and that Pakistani and Iranian forces patrol their respective sides of the border.
However, DG ISPR’s tweet which singles out the Dawn newspaper for the incorrect report was harshly criticized by Pakistani journalists and civil society activists, who rightly pointed out that the same story was also reported by the state-run Radio Pakistan, as well as Iran’s IRNA news agency.
Editor of Dawn newspaper also tweeted a clarification and admitted the error, while pointing out that the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan was the source of the story.
This is not the first time the Dawn newspaper has received push back directly or indirectly from Pakistan’s state institutions. Earlier this month, the office of Dawn in the capital of Islamabad was besieged twice by a mob of protesters who chanted slogans in favor of Pakistani military and the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan and against Dawn newspaper and its staff after Dawn mentioned the Pakistani origin of Usman Khan, the terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack in London on Nov 29, in its report. The mob also burned copies of the Dawn newspaper as well as an effigy of the newspaper’s chief executive. While the mob’s act was denounced by some Pakistani politicians, some journalists and civil society activists publicly and privately alleged that some of Pakistan’s state institutions instigated the protests outside Dawn’s Islamabad office.
It is worth noting that the London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan was later buried by his family in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Border security has long been a major cause of distrust in Pakistan-Iran relations.
In April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had announced that the two countries would form a joint quick-reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border.
On Nov. 18, Pakistani military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Tehran for security talks with Iran’s political leadership and military leadership.
In May this year, Pakistan began the fencing of certain areas along the 950-kilometer border it shares with Iran.