RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistan Army has clarified that it will have no direct role in conducting forthcoming general elections 2018; rather, it will provide support to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which is the institution responsible for conducting elections in Pakistan.
Briefing journalists at Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) Office in Rawalpindi, the Director General of ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan Army would at the disposal of ECP for providing cordial and fear-free environment.
The DG ISPR said that Pakistan Army would facilitate the ECP for ensuring fair and free elections.
Major General Asif Ghafoor said that six duties would be responsibilities of Pakistan Army during the election process including maintaining law and order situation in and around polling stations and all over the country in general; ensuring printing and security of ballot papers; transportation of ballot papers to the offices of Returning Officers (ROs); transportation of ballot papers from ROs offices to respective polling stations; transportation of ballot boxes to ROs offices back after the end of the polling day; and to follow code of conduct provided by the ECP.
Asif Ghafoor stated that officials of ECP would be accompanied army officials during transportation of ballot papers and ballot boxes to and from ROs offices.
The director general ISPR said that the security of 871 “Sensitive Polling Stations” marked by the ECP would be another important feature of support. He said Pakistan Army will ensure free environment for voters to poll their votes at polling stations without fear.
The DG ISPR said that a total of 48,500 buildings would be used for 85,307 polling stations established by ECP for general elections 2018 on June 25.
Major General Asif Ghafoor said that as per the requirement to ensure peaceful conduct of election 2018, 3,71,388 armed forces personnel including retired army personnel & reserve force, and 4,000 personnel each from Pakistan Navy and Air Force would be deployed on polling Day. Besides, other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) including police would also deployed at polling stations.
The director general ISPR said that it’s not the first time that Pakistan army is facilitating the Election Commission for peaceful and smooth conduct of general elections.
Asif Ghafoor said that 192,000 armed forces personnel were deployed on election duty in 1997 general elections, 30,500 in 2002, 39,000 in 2008, and 75,000 in 2013.
In reply to a question, he said that Pakistan Army does not support any political party, and its duty is to facilitate ECP for free and fair elections.
While responding to another question, Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan Army will accept any Prime Minister chosen by nation through proper electoral process.