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Pakistan: Services chiefs attend rare briefing at ISI headquarters

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mehmood Abbasi and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan attending the meeting at the ISI headquarters

Services chiefs on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over preparedness of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to counter India’s sinister designs after receiving a rare combined briefing on occupied Kashmir and other regional issues at the headquarters of the premier intelligence agency.

“A comprehensive briefing was given to military leadership on the regional security issues with special focus on situation of LoC and IOJ&K,” the ISPR said in a statement after the meeting, which was attended by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Adm Zafar Mehmood Abbasi and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan. Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza also attended the meeting.

“CJCSC and services chiefs appreciated the tireless efforts of ISI for national security and expressed satisfaction over professional preparedness,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

It is rare for all services chiefs to visit the ISI headquarters together for a briefing on national security. The services chiefs normally meet at the forum of the joint chiefs of staff committee, the principal tri-services coordination forum. The joint chiefs’ forum has not met since July 2018. Such meetings are necessary for ensuring inter-services complementarity, particularly at the time of a crisis. 

The ISI has, meanwhile, been giving briefings to the political and military leadership. Prime Minister Imran Khan has twice been to the ISI headquarters -on April 23 and June 3 - for intelligence briefings on the security threats.

These briefings have assumed special significance because they have taken place amid escalating tensions with arch-rival India.

Also Read: Pakistan tells India to focus on domestic issues instead of 'igniting border disputes'

India is entangled in multiple crises including border disputes with neighbours, weakening economy and worsening coronavirus pandemic situation. Ongoing India-China stand-off on Monday saw first military casualties since 1975, which has put Modi government in a tight spot domestically.

At the same time Delhi is undertaking a menacing military build-up, believed to be targeted against Pakistan, building a narrative of Line of Control infiltration and publicising its casualties in virtually daily clashes with freedom fighters in occupied Kashmir.

Some fear that the Indian government is preparing environment for a military confrontation with Pakistan.

Defence analysts, however, see these sessions like the one at the ISI headquarters on Tuesday as part of the military’s strategic signalling to India.

A diplomatic source said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was likely to hold consultation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over the next few days.

Among other concerns, Pakistani officials worry that any conflict with India could undo the progress made towards peace in Afghanistan after protracted efforts.

Afghan Taliban and other factions are set to initiate their internal dialogue – the intra-Afghan talks – in Doha in a little over a week. The Afghan government and Taliban are likely to complete prisoners swap by this weekend, which would fulfil a major condition for the talks.