Pakistan: Army rejects ‘political engineering’ allegations

Pakistan: Army rejects ‘political engineering’ allegations

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RAWALPINDI: Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, on Tuesday said the Election Commission of Pakistan has sought Pakistan Army’s assistance in holding of general election 2018 in a free and fair manner.

Addressing a press conference , the military spokesman said all the doubts regarding the general elections have come to an end.

“Army has no direct role in conduct of the election,” he said, adding that voters should exercise their right of franchise without any fear.

“It is Election Commission’s job to address irregularities,” he said.

He said 371388 personnel would be deployed to assists the election commission. The spokesman said given the security challenges facing the country, it was not possible to deploy such a huge number of personnel at the polling stations.

He said to address this issue, the army has also called in a number of recently retired soldiers to perform election duties.

“We niether have a political party, nor any affiliation. People should vote for the candidate of their own choice,” he said.

Political Engineering

Answering a series of questions regarding allegations about rigging and army’s role in “political engineering”, he said: there is no election in which political parties didn’t level rigging allegations .

He said armed forces, during the last five years performed national duties and, paving the way for peaceful atmosphere in which the election is going to take place.

“We have tolerated things which in normal circumstances wouldn’t have been tolerated,” he said.

He said during the talkshows people can say what they like to. “But our field commanders are not allowed to go out and give their opinion,” he said.

“We are tolerating this because we know where we are heading,” he said.

“Even If we admit that there is political engineering taking place, at the end of the day it is the voter who is going to the vote.

Is it possible for anyone to go to every door step and ask them to vote for a certain candidate?” he asked.

The Major General rejected the allegations levelled against a senior army officer by Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, son-in-law of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said people levelling allegations against General Faiz are not aware of his responsibilities and services.

He said the general had a vital role in the country’s war against terror.

Major General Ghafoor said Captain Safdar’s matter would be dealt with as per army rules.

Responding to a question regarding the election symbol of Jeep allotted to a large number of independent candidates, he said it was electoral body that issued the symbol not the ISI.

“It is not our jeep. This kind of jeep is owned by candidates not the army” he said.

To another question, he said the ISI had no role in Multan incident involving a political party candidate who was allegedly tortured and asked to withdraw his candidacy.

“We can’t control social media, nor do we want to,” he said in response to question.

Answering a question about the term Khalayi Makhlooq (Aliens), he said such terms are often coined during elections.

“We do know who we are”.

“People of Pakistan can elect A B C . . . whoever they elect is the prime minister. We are nobody,” the ISPR DG said while answering a question whether Imran Khan would be acceptable to the army.__The News

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