ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior through a notification on Sunday assigned the army the duty of security and maintenance of peace during elections for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Legislative Assembly. The elections will be held on July 21.
The notification, to call the army, has been issued under Article 245 of the Constitution.
It is pertinent to mention here that on July 9 at least two people were killed and many injured after violent clashes broke out between activists of the PPP and PML-N in Haveli district. At least 60 shops were set on fire.
After the clashes, PPP General Secretary Raja Pervaiz Ashraf held a press conference and demanded that the army be deployed during elections.
On July 14, a suspect opened fire at AJK’s Minister for Electricity Faisal Mumtaz Rathore, but he survived. The following day, during a press conference, Mr Rathore, who is son of former prime minister Mumtaz Rathore and belongs to the PPP, alleged that PML-N was involved in the attack.
According to a statement issued on Sunday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the requisition for the army deployment was sent by the AJK chief election commissioner.
“Moreover, requests by the governments of AJK, Punjab, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan were also received to deploy the army during elections. However, the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh refused the deployment of the army for elections,” he said.
“It was not possible to deploy the army in some areas and ignore the other areas for the same job. So it was decided to deploy the army all over the country.
“Moreover, it was necessary to deploy army in KP and Sindh because the political parties, which have been ruling the two provinces, are also contesting elections in AJK.
“It is in the best interest of AJK and Pakistan to hold free and fair election in AJK,” the minister said.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2016