ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Army said on Tuesday it would not interfere in the upcoming general elections after some parties expressed doubt over the electoral process and the military’s role in it.
The army did not have a direct role in the elections and only provided support to the Electoral Commission of Pakistan, according to Inter-Services Public Relations director general, Major Asif Ghafoor.
“There will be no interference of any kind in the elections, our mandate is to ensure that free and fair elections are held on July 25,” Ghafoor told a press conference in the northeastern city of Rawalpindi, neighboring Islamabad.
“We are not taking any sides, we are not aligned with any one or any party,” said the spokesperson for the institution that has governed the country for half of its 70-year history.
Ghafoor said that the army would deploy 371,388 soldiers in the 85,300 polling stations to ensure security.
According to the official, the army would be responsible for transporting ballots between the polling stations and ECP headquarters, where the counting would take place.
His statement came amid veiled accusations from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which has just completed a five-year term.
The PML-N maintains that disqualification of its leader, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and the 10-year prison sentence for graft announced Friday against him are politically motivated.
Other PML-N candidates have also recently been accused of graft and several of them have been arrested.
The People’s Party of Pakistan of Bilawal Bhutto has also expressed doubts over the elections.
The PML-N and Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf are the favorites in elections in which some 105 million Pakistanis are called to vote.