ISLAMABAD, April 30 (Xinhua) -- In a veiled reference to the Taliban attacks on political gatherings, Pakistan's powerful army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Tuesday announced support for the upcoming elections and dispelled rumors about any delay in the polls.
"General Elections would be held in the country on the 11th of May. We must not harbor any suspicions or misgivings about it," General Kayani told a massive gathering to honor those security personnel who died during the fight against the militants.
"I assure you that we stand committed to wholeheartedly assist and support in the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections to the best of our capabilities and remaining within the confines of the Constitution," the army chief said.
He also assured the people that the army's support shall solely be aimed at strengthening democracy and rule of law in the country.
"Like every Pakistani, Pakistan Army, in its humble capacity, has endeavored to strengthen democracy in the last five years, with the hope that the next elections would steer the country towards betterment," General Kayani said.
About terrorism and extremism, he said the menace has claimed thousands of lives, including those of the army, paramilitary, border forces, tribal forces and the police and innocent people of Pakistan. He said that external enemies are busy in igniting the flames of this fire.
He rejected the notion that Pakistan is fighting others' war and regretted that despite all this bloodshed, certain quarters still want to remain embroiled in the debate concerning the causes of this war and who imposed it on the country.
"While this may be important in itself but the fact of the matter is that today it is Pakistan and its valiant people who are a target of this war and are suffering tremendously," General Kayani said.
He defended fight against the violent extremists and said that a small faction wants to enforce its distorted ideology over the entire nation by taking up arms and for this purpose defies the Constitution of Pakistan and the democratic process and considers all forms of bloodshed justified.
He recalled that in the history of the best evolved democratic states, treason or seditious uprisings against the state have never been tolerated and in such struggles their armed forces have had unflinching support of the masses; questions about the ownership of such wars have never been raised.
"We cannot afford to confuse our soldiers and weaken their resolve with such misgivings. Every drop of blood, shed in the national cause, is sacred," the army chief said.
"There is no room for doubts when it comes to dealing with rebellion against the state," he said and suggested consensus towards evolving a clear policy through mutual consultations to deal with the militants. "Considering this war against terrorism as the war of the armed forces alone can lead to chaos and disarray that we cannot afford," the army chief said.