Inter-Services Public Relations
|Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor|
|Pakistan Armed Forces|
The Inter-Services Public Relations (Urdu: بین الخدماتی تعلقات عامہ; Reporting name:ISPR), is the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces which broadcasts and coordinates military news and information to the country's civilian media and the civic society.
The ISPR directorate serves the purpose of aiming to strengthen public relations with the civic society, through interacting with the media. The directorate also works as the principle voice of the Pakistan's military, with its director-general serving as the official spokesperson of the armed forces. In addition, the ISPR provides funds, productions, and assists with the military-produced public relations media– both military dramas and the war films.
The Directorate of the Inter–Services Public Relations (ISPR) was established in 1949 with army colonel Shahbaz Khan becoming its first director-general. The ISPR operates as a unified public relations system for the Pakistan's military, which combined army, air force, navy, and marines. The ISPR manage the public relations requirement of the armed forces, and is staff with the combined personnel of the military along with civilian officers. It functions at the Joint Staff Headquarters (JS HQ) and plays an important role for gathering a national support for the armed forces at the public level. The ISPR also strengthened support for the military's assigned contingency operations while undermining the will of the adversary.
In views of US army colonel John Adache, the ISPR interfaces between the armed forces, civil media, and the civic society. Furthermore, the ISPR also formulates the media policy of the unified armed forces, safeguards the military interests of the armed forces from negative influence, and monitors international and domestic media reporting regarding its military issues.
On regular basis, the ISPR broadcasts the televised news regarding the strategic arsenals testings, contingency operations and military exercises— both at foreign and domestic areas. In Pakistan's military staff appointments and assignments, the ISPR is one of the most prestigious directorate of Pakistan Armed Forces.
Its executive authority, a director-general, is a chief military spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces who reports to Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Secretariat; Chief of Army Staff as well the head also directly report to Chief of Air Staff, Commandant of Marines, and the Chief of Naval Staff.
The ISPR directorate is staffed with combined personnel of Pakistan's unified military along with civilian bureaucrats and officials. The ISPR functioned at the JS HQ and responsible for garnering national support for the armed forces as well as strengthen their resolve to accomplish the assigned mission while undermining the will of the adversary.
It also acts as an interface between the armed forces, the media and the public. It formulates much of the media policy of Pakistan's military, safeguards the armed forces from negative influences and monitors both international and domestic media.
It is likely that the army is planning the further expansion of ISPR to counter negative propaganda against the state and armed forces by international powers and their funded domestic media campaigns, in ongoing operation against terror outfits and economic terrorism. That's why, for the first time in its history ISPR was being led by a three-star general, Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa.
Principal media network
In recent years, there have been accusations of ISPR going beyond its domain and meddling in media affairs to undermine democracy. Concerns have been raised on ISPR handling media channels (Bol TV, Pak TV et al.), radio stations (FM 89.04, FM 96.00 ) and several media personalities such as Dr Shahid Masood, Arshad Sharif, Sami Ibrahim, Dr Aamir Liaqat etc. to indoctrinate pro-military narrative.
ISPR has regularly been criticized for posting inflammatory tweets on their official Twitter account. In April 2017, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (a BPS-21 officer) posted a tweet 'rejecting' Prime Minister's directives to probe Dawn Leaks controversy. After huge public outcry over the choice of words, ISPR had to redact its earlier tweet.
Similarly, during Allama Khadim Rizvi's Islamabad sit-in a tweet was posted attributing COAS's appeal to 'both sides' to exercise restraint. This was widely decried for equating people's elected government against a mob, further strengthening the belief that Army was behind the sit-ins to arm-twist government.
Since the 1990s, the ISPR has been directing, producing, assisting in writings, and funding the miniseries, drama, and films on military fiction. Some of its highly acclaimed works include: Alpha Bravo Charlie— a television series on Pakistan Army directed by Shoaib Mansoor in 1990
- Shahpar— a television drama on Pakistan Air Force funded by ISPR and broadcast at ARY Digital
- PNS Ghazi (Shaheed)— a thriller drama based on Pakistan Navy broadcast at PTV
- The Glorious Resolve
- Sunehre Din
- Ek Thi Marium
List of ISPR Director Generals
|Rank and Name||Start of Term||End of Term|
|Colonel Shabaz Khan||May 1949||July 1952|
|Commodore Maqbool Hussain||August 1952||October 1965|
|Colonel Z. A. Suleri||November 1965||August 1966|
|Lieutenant Colonel Masud Ahmed||September 1966||February 1967|
|Brigadier A R Siddiqui||March 1967||November 1973|
|Brigadier Fazal ur Rehman||December 1973||March 1977|
|Brigadier T H Siddiqui||April 1977||July 1985 |
|Brigadier-General Siddique Salik||August 1985||17 August 1988 |
|Major General Riaz Ullah||December 1988||September 1991 |
|Major General Jahangir Nasrullah||October 1991||April 1993|
|Major General Khalid Bashir||May 1993||July 1994|
|Brigadier S M A Iqbal||August 1994||February 1995 |
|Major General Saleem Ullah||March 1995||August 1998 |
|Brigadier-General Ghazanfar Ali||September 1998||October 1998 |
|Major General Rashid Qureshi||November 1998||May 2003 |
|Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan||June 2003||February 2007|
|Major General Waheed Arshad||February 2007||January 2008|
|Major General Athar Abbas||January 2008||June 2012|
|Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa||3 Jun 2012||11 December 2016|
|Major General Asif Ghafoor||15 Dec 2016||present|
- Adache, PhD, Col. John (2014). The Military and Public Relations. Bloomington, Indiana [US]: AuthorHouse Publications. ISBN 1496982363. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- WebDesk (15 November 2014). "Short film 'Defender' wins award at international defence film festival". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- staff. "The ISPR". Govt. of Pakistan (PowerPoint). Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- staff. "Bajwa, three others promoted to Lt Gen rank". Samaa News. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- "ISPR Press Release on testings". ISPR Press Release. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- DG ISPR. "ISPR Press release". ISPR Press Release, timeline. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- "How many radio stations, journalists work for you? Asma Jahangir asks ISPR". Daily Pakistan Global. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Army rejects PM Office statement on Dawn Leaks report - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2017-04-29. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Dawn.com (2017-05-10). "Army withdraws tweet 'rejecting' PM Office's directives on Dawn story probe". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "COAS suggests PM to handle Islamabad dharna situation peacefully". www.samaa.tv. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Ex Directors & Director General of ISPR". Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2017.