Army to provide all out support for free, fair elections: ISPR

Army to provide all out support for free, fair elections: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: Armed forces would provide necessary support to the Election Commission of Pakistan in the conduct of general elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.

This was stated by Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor while briefing newsmen about the support and role of the armed forces during the forthcoming elections.

He said, overall 371388 armed forces personnel would be deployed for election duties.

The Director-General said two armed forces personnel would be deployed inside and two outside sensitive polling stations while there would be normal deployment on others.

He said as per the mandate given by the Election Commission for personnel of the armed forces, they are responsible for security of printing presses where ballot papers are being printed.

Security would also be provided for transportation of the ballot papers to polling stations and despatch of ballot boxes to the strong rooms of the Election Commission. Major General Asif Ghafoor pointed out that the armed forces personnel would provide only security and handling of the election material would remain the exclusive domain of the Election Commission.

He categorically stated that in case of any irregularity, the personnel of armed forces would only observe and point out to the Election Commission and would not be empowered to take any corrective measure on their own.

The Director-General ISPR said the armed forces would remain neutral and not interfere in the electoral process.

He said Pakistan Army has set up an Election Support Centre in Rawalpindi for coordination with the Election Commission.

Replying to questions about allegations of rigging and political engineering, General Asif Ghafoor said allegations of rigging have always been levelled before and after elections in the past.

He said armed forces have been waging war of survival of Pakistan for the last fifteen years and they cannot deflect attention from the core issues of security and defence.

Answering a question regarding the election symbol of jeep allotted to various people, he said it is the Election Commission, which allots election symbols to candidates and the armed forces have nothing to do with this. To another question, he said our response is in place regarding any cyber threat. He said some forces are active on social media against Pakistan's political stability. He said that action will be taken if any act is taken repugnant to national security of Pakistan.

He urged media to play its due role in creating awareness for free, fair, and transparent elections in the country.

Regarding invisible forces, he said anybody to be elected by the people of Pakistan will be acceptable to the armed forces.

About donations in the fund established for the construction of dams, the Military Spokesperson said that the Army Chief has also donated one-month salary for this purpose.