Pakistan's army pledges support for free, fair elections
The Pakistani army promised on Tuesday to play its due role in supporting the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct a free, fair and transparent general elections on July 25, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. Asif Ghafoor, director general of the ISPR, the army's media wing, told reporters that the election commission has assigned six tasks to the army, including the maintenance of overall security, provision of security to printing presses, aiding transportation of the printed material and maintaining the law and order situation on the election day. Pakistan is set to conduct general elections for the National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament, and four provincial assemblies on July 25. Earlier, the former government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz concluded its five-year term on May 31 and handed the charge over to an interim government to run the country till the general elections. The army has set up an Army Election Support Center which is coordinating with the election commission, said Ghafoor, adding that on the polling day, troops will be stationed inside and outside the polling stations. He said 371,388 security personnel will be deployed at 85,300 polling stations planned for 105.95 million eligible registered voters in Pakistan. While considering the situation on the borders and the ongoing war on terror, the civil armed forces and retired military personnel have also been called in for the purpose, the army spokesman said. He hoped that the upcoming elections would be much safer than they were in 2013 because the security situation has improved in the country after consistent military operations against terrorists. "We are not intervening to conduct the elections, but only to facilitate them. Elections need to be conducted without fear of terrorism or attack. We need to ensure an atmosphere helpful for rallies and election campaigns," he added.