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ISLAMABAD: The armed forces on Saturday again clarified that they had taken up the security role for the coming elections to allow people to safely elect their representatives.

“ECP has requisitioned Pakistan Armed Forces under Article 220 and 245 of Constitution to assist them in free, fair and transparent conduct of Elections 2018,” Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

The military spokesman said the armed forces “shall undertake this mandated duty enabling people of Pakistan to freely exercise their democratic right in safe and secure environment”.

The tweet was accompanied by an almost minute-long video showing the various duties the troops would perform in relation to the election exercise.

The military has over the past week or so repeatedly clarified that its role was limited to providing security for the election process. Earlier this week, this was stated by the military from the highest level when Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa visited Army Elections Support Centre and underscored that the role would be performed “within the bounds of given mandate and as per ECP code of conduct”.

The repeated clarifications have come in response to unending allegations of military’s interference in the elections. The army strongly denies all these allegations.

The army had previously announced that it would deploy 371,388 troops at 85,000 polling stations for the July 25 elections. This would be the largest deployment for any elections in the country’s history.

This year, as per the security plan, two soldiers would be deployed inside the polling stations, while another two would guard outside at the 20,831 polling stations designated as sensitive. The troops are also guarding the three printing presses where ballot papers and other election stationery are being printed.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2018