Rawalpindi (Staff Report): Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that the army will assist the Election Commission strictly within bounds of given mandate and as per ECP code of conduct for General Election 2018.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the COAS said this during his visit to the Army Elections Support Center, Rawalpindi on Thursday.
During the visit, General Bajwa was given a detailed briefing about plan for provision of assistance to the ECP for free, fair and transparent conduct of forthcoming elections.
The COAS said that working in synchronisation with other elements of security apparatus, all efforts be put in to ensure secure and safe environment, enabling people of Pakistan to freely exercise their democratic right.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to deploy army personnel inside and around polling stations to ensure security during the polls.
The general election will be held on July 25, for which electioneering by political parties has been in full swing.
Earlier, speaking at a special session of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that Pak army has no direct role in the election set to be held on July 25.
He rejected the notion that army personnel had been given ‘different orders’ how the July 25 elections will unfold.
"There were some rumours that army personnel had been issued 'different' orders — this is completely baseless," he said. "We do not have any link with the elections; we are only working on the election commission's directives to improve the law and order situation. We do not have a direct role in polls."
Elaborating the duties during election day, the DG said: “Three hundred and seventy-one thousand troops will be deployed at polling stations in the country,” adding that army is also security duties at the printing press.
When PML-N Senator Kulsoom Parveen asked about the number of troops to be deployed in Balochistan, where a suicide blast killed over 150 people, Ghafoor said: “We know how many personnel should be deployed where”.
He added that providing security for election did not mean that army would also take direct responsibility for the security of politicians.
“The army is not taking direct responsibility for the security of any politician,” he said. “The security of political candidates is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan and the ECP. We are assisting the election commission for security during polling.
The Senate session was headed by the committee chairperson Senator Rehman Malik. Federal interior and defence secretaries, secretary ECP and several other government officials also attended the meeting.
In the same session, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said that army personnel would have a free role at the polling stations, adding that they would work under the presidi9jng officers.
“A total of 800,000 security officials and 700,000 ECP staff will perform their duties,” he said.