'Pak Army has no direct role to play in July 25 polls', says its media wing ISPR
Islamabad, July 25: Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor on Thursday, July 19, reiterated that the security forces have no direct role to play in the July 25 general elections, Pakistan's leading daily Dawn reported.
Maj Gen. Ghafoor, who was speaking at a special session of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, repeated his stance taken at a press conference earlier this month and said that the army was only following the instructions given by the country's election commission, the report added.
The ISPR DG refuted "rumours" that the army personnel had been given 'different' orders and said that it has no link with the polls and was only doing its bit to maintain the law and order situation, the Dawn report added.
Maj Gen. Ghafoor also said that army has always stood by the civilian institutions and the security situation in the country is being improved ahead of the crucial polls. The July 25 elections will see only the second power transition from one civilian government to another in Pakistan's 70 years of independence. Though, the country is yet to see one prime minister completing the entire five year period of a term.
The ISPR DG said 3,71,000 soldiers will be deployed for the elections and that the men in uniform were also doing their duty at the printing press, the Dawn report said.
However, Maj Gen. Ghafoor averted a direct answer when asked about the security situation in Balochistan where 150 people, including an election candidate, were killed last week in a suicide explosion in an election rally. When asked by a PML-N senator about the troops deployment in Pakistan's disturbed south-western province, the ISPR official said: "Leave the planning side to us," the Dawn report added.
Ghafoor clarified that the army's role in securing the elections did not mean that it would also be directly responsible for the safety of the politicians, the report added.
He also said that Afghanistan has assured Pakistan of support from its side on the security. He said Pakistan had taken "extraordinary measures" on its side of the Afghanistan border when the latter went to polls and now it is time for Kabul to reciprocate.