Army says will enable people to exercise right to vote freely


RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Saturday that the armed forces of the country would enable people of Pakistan to freely exercise their right to vote.

In a tweet, he said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had requisitioned the armed forces under Article 220 and 245 of the constitution to assist them in free, fair and transparent conduct of Elections 2018. “(Pak Armed Forces) Shall undertake this mandated duty enabling people of Pakistan to freely exercise their democratic right in safe & secure environment,” he added.

On Thursday, the army tried to allay concerns regarding its pro-active role in the general election 2018, with army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reiterating that the troops will perform their duties in line with the mandate given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

As elections draw near, there has been a widespread concern that the military is trying to manipulate the election and bring a “Sanjrani-like” prime minister. Political parties, especially the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have pointed out on various occasion that the powers-that-be want their blue-eyed at the helm.

Gen Bajwa, who visited the Elections Support Centre in Rawalpindi, was given a “detailed briefing about the plan for the provision of assistance to ECP [for the smooth conduct of polls],” the ISPR said in a statement.

During the briefing, the army chief ordered his forces to ensure that people get an appropriate environment on polling day so that they could freely exercise their democratic right.

Maj Gen Ghafoor had on Thursday told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior that troops are liable to follow the code of conduct of the election commission on the polling day.

He said that armed forces had always lent support to civil institutions of the country and there were no obstructions in the communication process with the electoral body.