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Army vows support to timely polls

22 February, 2013

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RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army has assured its full support to holding of free, fair and timely elections in the country.

"We fully support free, fair and timely elections in the country. We have been supporting the present political set-up during the last five years and will not get anything if the elections are delayed," Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa told a group of journalists on Thursday.

Gen Bajwa said the imposition of governor's rule in Balochistan was a political decision. He said there was a civil government in the province during the last five years, and added that the decision to impose governor's rule was taken after a complete political consensus.

Gen Bajwa said military leadership was ready to support the civil administration under Article 245 of the constitution. However, he added, decision to not call armed forces in Balochistan was also a political one. He made it clear any decision to restore a political government in Balochistan will be purely on political grounds.

About improvement of law and order situation in the province, Gen Bajwa said the Frontier Corps had set up 19 additional posts in Qalat and Quetta divisions to further beef up security after the Hazara Town incident. A targeted operation led by the FC and supported by the police and intelligence agencies continued in the province, he added.

Rejecting the impression of supporting any banned organisation, Gen Bajwa said the armed forces were not in contact with militant outfits, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Military is fighting a war against all forms of terrorism in the country, he added.

Commenting on the role of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Gen Bajwa said the agency was operating within its mandate and it had carried out 130 intelligence operations in Balochistan and prevented several terrorist incidents during the last four months.

He especially mentioned an operation in which 39,000 kg explosive material was seized in August last year.

When asked about the deployment of army in Balochistan, Gen Bajwa said even a single soldier was not deployed anywhere in the province during the last five years. Replying to a question, Gen Bajwa said the country was in a state of war and there was a need for a united and comprehensive response from all the institutions.

He appreciated the role of media, Foreign Office and military leadership in handling the issue of Indian incursions on the Line of Control (LOC) in a mature way. Regarding extradition of Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, Gen Bajwa said, "Our Foreign Office is in contact with the Afghan Foreign Office in this regard."

End.

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