General elections were the most transparent ever: DG ISPR
LONDON: Director General Inter Services Public Relatons (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said the 2018 general elections were the most transparent in the democratic history of the country, and any evidence of alleged rigging should be brought forward.
Speaking to reporters at the Pakistan High Commission in London, the military’s spokesman said the army ensured that people voted according to their will on polling day, and history will prove the elections were the most free, fair and transparent ever.
“There has been a record turnout in various parts of the country. Voters made their own choice and were not told who to vote for or not,” he said, stressing that allegations of rigging were made but there was no evidence brought forward.
He emphasised that the army has no role in the process of accountability and drive against corruption, and believes that democracy is the way forward and has provided full support to democratic institutions.
DG ISPR, who is accompanying Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on an official visit to the United Kingdom, said there had been positive interactions with civilian and military leaders.
He said several countries avoid interactions with one another, but Pakistan is a relevant country and foreign governments like the UK want positive engagement which they have always welcomed.
Pakistan wants success in Afghanistan
He said that Pakistan is open to talks with several countries including China, Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even India, and whenever the army chief meets a foreign dignitary, they represent the interests of Pakistan.
He further said the army will safeguard all projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and it is necessary for institutions to stand by each other and work together.
“We are engaged on the eastern and western border, the army has to maintain the security of the country,” he said, adding that they want peace in Afghanistan but cannot open the porous border which is not supposed to divide the two countries.
He maintained there is no country without political differences which is the hallmark of democratic society. He said there will be transition of governments thorough the power of vote, and it was unfortunate that the army was dragged into politics.
Sacrifices in war on terrorism
He also said that the army had no links with the political activities of Pervez Musharraf and his legal troubles had increased due to allegations against him. He said that former army chief Raheel Sharif was in Saudi Arabia on the approval of the government where other army generals were in the country.
DG ISPR also emphasised Pakistan’s success in the war against terrorism, saying no country has rendered more sacrifices. He said the army had been fighting against terrorism since the last fifteen years, and over 76,000 people have laid down their lives for peace and stability in Pakistan.
The military spokesman said that systems in Pakistan had eroded due to the incidents in the past and they need to correct them. “We need to correct those systems and in the last five years they have started working well,” he said.
He said that army will ensure that democracy is strengthened in the country, but it was the responsibility of the the government to bring judicial and police reforms and strengthen the bureaucracy.
Pakistan to respond against any misadventure
Major General Ghafoor categorically stated that the surgical strike is a myth and India was running lies to discredit and economically weaken Pakistan.
He warned against any misadventure and said those considering should have no doubt on Pakistan’s capabilities. He said that it India dares to launch a surgical strike inside Pakistan, it will face ten surgical strikes in response.
“We have the power to retaliate within ten minutes if any adventure is carried out. There should be no doubt about that,” he asserted.
He also spoke on declining incidents of terrorism in the country and the crime rate in Karachi. He said that there were 2-3 bomb blasts regularly but it has been much peaceful now, while Karachi has dropped to sixth place on the crime index among the list of dangerous cities.
The DG ISPR stressed that he country will prosper when the systems are better and that Pakistan is much better than before. He said the international media does not highlight the positive sides of Pakistan and it was the responsibility of the media to showcase it.