Pak Military Calls for Free, Fair and Timely Polls
Pakistan's powerful military today called for a "free, fair and timely" general election, even as there was growing speculation in the country that the security establishment could be behind moves to destabilise the PPP-led government to defer polls.
"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 elections are delayed," said Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the head of the military's media wing.
Bajwa's remarks came against the backdrop of growing speculation in Pakistan's political circles that the security establishment could be behind moves to destabilise the civilian government in a bid to defer polls.
Pakistan's parliament is set to complete its five-year term on March 16 and the general election is expected to be held by mid-May.
Some politicians have claimed the military could be behind moves to install a government of technocrats for a period of two to three years.
Leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and PML-N have accused the security establishment of backing cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who recently led a massive protest against the federal government.
Commenting on the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the head of the Inter-Services Public Relations said the spy agency was "operating within its mandate".
Pakistan "was in state of war and there was a need for a united and comprehensive response by all the institutions", he said.
Bajwa made the remarks while talking to a group of journalists in Rawalpindi, state-run APP news agency reported.
He largely focussed on the situation in the restive Balochistan province, where a string of attacks on the Hazara Shia community by the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has killed nearly 200 people.