Friday July 19, 2024

Pakistan’s diverse polity will be well-represented by unified govt: COAS

General Asim Munir also congratulated the entire Pakistani nation on successful conduct of General Elections 2024

By Mariana Baabar & Muhammad Anis
February 11, 2024
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir. — ISPR website
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir. — ISPR website

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, while congratulating the entire nation on successful conduct of general elections, on Saturday said that Pakistan’s diverse polity and pluralism would be well-represented by a unified government of all democratic forces imbibed with national purpose.

“Elections and democracy are means to serve people of Pakistan and not ends in themselves,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), while quoting the COAS, said.

General Asim Munir said now the nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation, which does not suit a progressive country of 250 million people. “Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people,” the army chief noted.

The COAS observed that the people of Pakistan have reposed their combined trust in the Constitution of Pakistan, it is now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity. “As we move forward from this national milestone, we must reflect on where the country stands today and where our rightful place should be in the comity of nations,” he said.

General Asim Munir also congratulated the entire Pakistani nation, caretaker government, Election Commission of Pakistan, political parties and all winning candidates on successful conduct of General Elections 2024.

He pointed out that free and unhindered participation by Pakistani people to exercise their right of vote demonstrated their commitment to democracy and the rule of law as enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan. “Leadership and personnel of law-enforcement agencies deserve our highest appreciation for creating a safe and secure environment for the electoral process, despite overwhelming odds,” he said.

The COAS also hailed constructive role played by national media, civil society, members of civil administration and judiciary which he said enabled the successful conduct of the largest electoral exercise in national history. The COAS wished that elections bring in political and economic stability and prove to be the harbinger of peace and prosperity for beloved Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Office, in an early morning statement, hit back at criticism coming in from world capitals and international organisations which criticised the “lack of transparency” in the electoral process, muzzling of the media and keeping certain political party and its candidates out of the electoral process.

“We have taken note of statements from certain countries and organisations on the general elections held in Pakistan on Feb 8, 2024, and some of these statements are not even factual. Pakistan held the elections as part of its commitment to building a stable and democratic society. While we value constructive advice from our friends, making negative commentary even before the completion of electoral process is neither constructive nor objective,” said the FO statement.

Reacting to criticism from Washington, London, European Union, United Nations, etc., the Foreign Office said it was surprised by the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither did take into account the complexity of the electoral process, nor did acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis.

So far, the Foreign Office has not summoned the ambassadors of the countries present in the Diplomatic Enclave over these hard-hitting comments.

“These statements ignore the undeniable fact that Pakistan has held general elections, peacefully and successfully, while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign sponsored terrorism. Some statements are not even factual. There was no nationwide internet shutdown. Only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on the polling day. The elections exercise has demonstrated that the concerns of many commentators were misplaced,” added the Foreign Office.

However, by Saturday evening the government had blocked X and the social media was full of complaints about users saying they had once again resorted to V-Pins to remain in touch on social media.

“Nationwide disruption to X amid political turmoil: NetBlocks” stated the website of The News International. “Internet tracking monitor says disruption comes amid political turmoil after a controversial election held under an internet and mobile network blackout.”

“Pakistan will continue to work towards building a vibrant democratic polity. Every election and peaceful transition of power brings us closer to that goal. We do this not on account of the concerns expressed by others but because that is the aspiration of our people and the vision of our founding father,” said the Foreign Office.