Army top brass dismayed at ‘unsubstantiated allegations’ of interference in electoral process

Published March 5, 2024
Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir chairs 263rd Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. — ISPR
Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir chairs 263rd Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. — ISPR

The military’s top brass on Tuesday expressed dismay that some segments of polity and social media were “maligning the armed forces” with “unsubstantiated allegations of interference” in the electoral process.

The observation was made during the 263rd Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, which was presided over by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir.

The statement comes after the PTI, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Grand Democratic Party called the legitimacy of the election into question. In his first press conference following the Feb 8 polls, JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman had alleged that the establishment “continues to interfere in the democratic process”.

According to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) today, the forum noted that the armed forces provided a secure environment for the conduct of the General Election 2024 and “had nothing to do with the electoral process”.

“However, the forum expressed dismay that some vested small segments of polity and media especially social media have been maligning the Armed Forces of Pakistan with unsubstantiated allegations of interference which is highly deplorable.

“It’s unfortunate that rather than focusing on real issues such as good governance, economic recovery, political stability and public well-being, the entire focus of such vested elements is on creating political instability and uncertainty by attempting to scapegoat others for their own failings,” it said.

The top brass emphasised that “due legal processes” would be followed with evidence and proof “rather than resorting to unconstitutional and uncalled for baseless political rhetoric and emotional outbursts”.

The ISPR said the forum was satisfied with the “smooth democratic transition of power in the Centre and provinces” and hoped that the post-election environment would bring in the desired political and economic stability.

“The forum expressed that it strongly believed that democratic consolidation is the way forward for the country,” the military’s media affairs wing said.

The participants also appreciated the efforts of the civil administration, law enforcement agencies and security forces for providing assistance during the February 8 elections “despite overwhelming odds”.

May 9 riots

The ISPR statement further said that the top brass was committed to bring the “planners, instigators, abettors and perpetrators/desecrators of Shuhada monuments and attackers of military installations on May 9” to justice under the law and Constitution “in line with the resolve” of the prime minister.

“In this regard, malicious efforts to create distortions, confusion and disinformation are absolutely futile and only part of an organised campaign being launched for narrow political interests, to blur the abhorrent activities that took place,” it said.

“The forum noted with concern organised misinformation and fake news being spread by certain nefarious elements to sow despondency and divisions within the society and urged the proud people of Pakistan to remain positive and united and wholeheartedly participate in the progress and development of the country.

“The participants affirmed that the Pakistan Army will continue defending and serving the nation in every possible way; in our journey towards enduring stability, prosperity and security,” the ISPR added.

Human rights violation in held Kashmir, Gaza

During the meeting, the forum also expressed concerns over the continued repression of Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and condemned the “unabated human rights violations by India”.

It reaffirmed that Pakistan would continue to support Kashmiris politically, diplomatically and morally at all levels.

The top brass also expressed “complete solidarity with the people of Palestine” and condemned the “serious human rights violations and war crime being perpetrated in Gaza”.

“The Palestinian people have the unequivocal diplomatic, moral and political support of the Pakistani nation and we will continue to support the principled stance of our brethren for enduring resolution of the Palestinian issue,” the ISPR quoted Gen Munir as saying.

‘Terrorists to be dealt with full might’

Further, the military brass resolved that terrorists, their facilitators and abettors “working on the behest of hostile forces to destabilise Pakistan” would be dealt with “full might of the state”.

“The COAS directed commanders to continue consolidating the gains of efforts against terrorism and militancy,” the ISPR said.

The forum affirmed that the military leadership was “cognisant of the full spectrum of the challenges and threats and remained committed to shoulder its constitutionally mandated responsibilities with the support of the resilient people of Pakistan”, the statement highlighted.

The forum also vowed to continue providing “full support to the government in combating security threats and uplifting the socio-economic growth in the country including wholehearted assistance in curbing all illegal activities including smuggling, hoarding, electricity theft, implementation of One Document Regime and respectable and safe repatriation of all illegal foreigners”.

The COAS directed field commanders to continue maintaining high standards of professionalism, operational preparedness and motivation during operations and achieving excellence during training of the formations, the ISPR concluded.

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