RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday vowed to assist Election commission of Pakistan to hold General Elections within the bounds of given mandate and code of conduct, NewsOne reported
Army Chief made a visit to Army Election Support Centre in Rawalpindi on Thursday where he was given in depth briefing regarding Army’s assistance to ECP for conducting free and fair polling exercise for upcoming elections, said ISPR
“Army shall assist firmly within the bounds of given mandate as per the ECP conduct,” said ISPR quoting COAS.
General Bajwa also directed to ensure safe and secure environment so that people could exercise their democratic right freely.
“Army shall work in coordination with other law enforcement agencies and take all necessary measures to enable safe and sound election atmosphere,” said Army Chief.
Earlier today, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, reiterating his stance from a press conference held earlier this month, rejected the notion that the security forces have any direct role in how the July 25 elections will unfold.
Speaking at the special session of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, DG ISPR clarified that the army personnel are only following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s instructions.
“There were some rumours that army personnel had been issued ‘different’ orders — this is completely baseless,” he said. “We do not have any link with the elections; we are only working on the election commission’s directives to improve the law and order situation. We do not have a direct role in polls.”
On July 1oth, while addressing a presser on elections and Armed Forces deployment involved in the exercise to carry out the mammoth task in a safe and secure manner, the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor briefed about the entire process and how the Pak Armed forces are looking to tackle it.
Ghafoor made it clear that the Army will ensure security and safety of the staff, polling stations, ballot boxes, transportation and people involved in the electoral process but the sanctity of the elections wholly and solely falls upon the election commission of Pakistan.
“I am constantly asked whether elections will be held or not but Pakistan is headed towards the general election.”
“This is the third election which will ensure the democratic process,” he said.
Explaining the army’s role in the July 25 general election, Major-General Ghafoor said, “The armed forces are not directly involved in conducting the election.”
“We have to support the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the tasks they have sought our help with,” he continued.
He further added this is not the first time that troops will be deployed to overlook the election process. “The armed forces have rendered services during previous elections as well,” he upheld.
Regarding overlooking the process of the printing of ballot papers, DG ISPR clarified, “We only have to transport the ballot papers in a secure manner and will not be involved in anything else.”