RAWALPINDI – Major General Asif Ghafoor, director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said on Tuesday that the Pakistan Army will play a non-political and impartial role in the upcoming elections.
Addressing a presser at GHQ in Rawalpindi, the military spokesperson said that he is constantly asked whether elections will be held or not but Pakistan is heading towards the general polls. All ‘forces’ that wanted to postpone elections have slowly faded away.
“This is the third election which will ensure the democratic process,” he said, adding that full support will be provided for the elections set to be held on July 25.
He clarified that army has no direct role in conducting the elections but assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the process.
The army has been providing help to the electoral body in the past elections, he said, adding, “It is not for the first time that army personnel are being deployed to overlook the polls”.
It will be the third consecutive election in the history of Pakistan, he said, adding that the army will perform a neutral role in the polls.
Explaining the role of the security officials on July 25, “We only have to transport the ballot papers with security to the polling stations and will not be involved in anything else.”
He asserted that the printing material will be handled by the ECP officials, not the troops, adding that the top priority of army is to maintain law and order situation in the country.
An army election support centre will be established in Rawalpindi for coordination and communication with the ECP, he said.
Maj-Gen Ghafoor further said that the security personnel will follow the code of conduct issued by the ECP ahead of the polls. The top priority of the troops is to ensure free and fair elections.
The spokesperson also requested the media to not approach the troops deployed at polling stations.
Rejecting the impression of the army’s role in any kind of rigging, he said that politicians have been levelled allegations of rigging before every election, adding, “It is not the first time that politicians are jumping ships to join other parties”.
“How a person can change his political support just on a phone call,” he said, adding that some elements wanted to shift the army’s focus from main issues. He said that army is fighting the terrorism for more than a decade.
Denying speculations of any support to a group in the forthcoming general elections with Jeep as the electoral symbol, the DG ISPR clarified: “We have no political affiliation”. He added that electoral are allocated by the ECP.
Talking about a term usually used by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in his addresses regarding unseen forces, the director general said: “Role of aliens is a political slogan”.