Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Tuesday that all the doubts regarding election died with time as Pakistan is heading towards timely electoral process.
Addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi, he maintained, “In every press conference, I am asked whether elections will be held or not. On July 25, the nation will once again take the country towards a new democratic process. We will support Election Commission of Pakistan as per the mandate provided to them. It will be the third election of democratic continuation.”
DG ISPR vowed to provide every sort of assistance to ECP.
“If 100 votes have been cast in the ballot paper, the same amount should be retrieved from it. The army do not possess the authority to eliminate any irregularity, it is the duty of ECP. The army also used to be deployed during elections. In 1997, at least 1,92,000 army personnel were stationed during elections, 30,500 in 2002 and 39,000 in 2008,” he asserted.
He stressed that the political campaigns of political parties should run without any fear while it is the right of the voter to receive intrepid chance to use their right.
“Army only responsible for transferring printing material”
DG ISPR clarified that army has no role in conducting the elections. “We are only responsible for the transfer of printing material. The army representative will aware the ECP of irregularity and will not be included directly in the process. The printing of ballot papers is underway in the presses and the process will be completed till July 21 while the deployment of security personnel will be finished three days before polling,” he said.
“Majority of the ballot papers is being transferred through road. If necessary, the delivery can also be conducted through helicopters and aircrafts. The delivery process will not take place without the presence of ECP staff,” added DG ISPR.
“Matters other than transferring printing material are the responsibility of ECP. Providing safeguard to ECP will be our duty. An Army Election Support Centre has been established in Rawalpindi which will strengthen the coordination with ECP. A code of conduct of army’s assistance has been issued and we are bound to implement it,” he explained.
The police stationed outside the polling station will be responsible to maintain order and discipline, he added. “All the personnels will be performing their duties therefore; the media should refrain asking questions from them,” said DG ISPR.
“Army not affiliated with any political party”
He emphasized that army is only assisitng in the election process while their affiliation rests entirely with the public and not with any political party.
“At least 85,600 polling stations will be established in 45,800 buildings of the country. More than 3,00,000 contingent is required by the army to perform their duties and it is not possible for us to arrange such large number of officials. The services of army’s retired individuals and reserve force have been taken. The army has been directed to remain unbiased while aiding the ECP,” he pronounced.
“No such election in Pakistan has been held when any political party has not said of pre-poll rigging. Every political party wants to contest the election while degrading the other one. However; the focus of army is on susceptible matters. At least two army personnel will be deployed inside and two outside the sensitive polling stations. Not only the army but police and other security officials will be present at the polling stations,” maintained DG ISPR.
“ISI has no role in the incident that occurred with PML-N candidate Rana Iqbal Siraj in Multan. We are the creation of Allah. Only time will tell the effects of words like ‘Khalai Makhlooq’. It is a merely political slogan. It is upto the will of the public to elect anyone as Prime Minister and will be acceptable to us,” he declared in reply to a question.
DG ISPR told that the army and Supreme Court has taken notice of the appearance of Army Chief’s photo on the campaign poster of Nasir Cheema, PTI’s candidate from Gujranwala’s PP-53 constituency.
“The ‘jeep’ symbol has nothing to do with army”
Responding to a query, DG ISPR elucidated that the ‘jeep’ symbol being allotted to the electoral candidates has no links with the army.
“Electoral symbol is neither allotted by the army nor the ISI. The colour of the jeep which you are referring is not related to the one that the army contains. Such jeeps are used by political candidates,” he maintained in his answer.
“Baseless allegations pertaining to General Faiz”
DG ISPR said that those mentioning General Faiz do not know about his work. “All the accusations pertaining to him are baseless. He played a significant role against terrorism. Everything should not be viewed with suspicion,” he affirmed.
“The actions on social media against the country will not be ignored and FIA is doing the best work over it. People doing such things will become weary of it after sometime,” he said.