Refuses to share key security details
Says won't take responsibility of security of politicians
Pakistan's Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, reiterating his stance from a press conference held earlier this month, yesterday rejected the notion that the security forces have any direct role in how the July 25 elections will unfold.
Speaking at the special session of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, DG ISPR clarified that the army personnel are only following the Election Commission of Pakistan's instructions.
"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."
Major General Ghafoor then elaborated the election duty assigned to army personnel, saying: "The armed forces have always lent support to civil institutions. The security situation is being improved in the entire country to hold elections.
"Three hundred and seventy one thousand army soldiers will be deployed at the countrywide polling stations. The army is also performing its duty at the printing press [for ballots]."
When asked by PML-N Senator Kulsoom Parveen to disclose the number of troops being deployed in Balochistan — where a suicide blast at a political event killed around 150 people — the DG ISPR said: "Leave the planning side to us; we know how many troops have to be deployed where. We have analysed every place from a security point of view. We have made deployments as per the need in Balochistan."
Maj Gen Ghafoor, however, made it clear that the army's role in providing security for elections did not mean that it would also take direct responsibility for the well being 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.
"Unfortunately, until the police's abilities improve, we will also have to do police duty."