ISPR chief rules out army role in defusing crisis.

ISLAMABAD -- The army on Wednesday indicated that it had no issues with not getting a role in holding of elections in the country in the future.

Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, while taking part in a talk show on a private channel, said that Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had already proposed to political leaders to devise a system and create an environment that could end the military's role in elections.

In response to another question, the spokesman said that his comments always reflected the army's institutional position on issues and were never his own views.

The army has provided security in most of the elections held in the country by guarding polling stations and providing security cover to the election staff and material during their movement.

Elections held last year saw the largest deployment in the country's electoral history as 371,388 troops were involved.

The army's growing role has drawn criticism from political parties, some of whom alleged that the army and intelligence agencies influenced the electoral process last year. In view of these concerns, the opposition parties have included the demand for ending army's role in elections in the four-point charter of demands for ending the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam's Islamabad sit-in.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the army gets involved in elections only when requisitioned by the government for assistance under the Constitution. 'It is not that the Constitution gives us a role or we desire to have one. It is always the decision of the government of the day. There is also input of other parties. Army has no role in the matter,' he said.

He further said that discussions on how many troops to deploy and where to deploy them take place after the army has been...

To continue reading

Request your trial