HRCP slams govt over pre-poll lawlessness -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP slams govt over pre-poll lawlessness

KARACHI, Feb 12: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Tuesday condemned the spread of mob violence and lawlessness across the country when the general elections were just round the corner.

In a joint statement issued here, HRCP Secretary-General Iqbal Haider and Vice-chairperson Zohra Yusuf said that these violent incidents had completely gone out of the government’s control and the country was on the verge of total anarchy.

Recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan showed the failure of the government’s anti-terrorism policies, they said.

It is obvious that mere policing and random arrests can do nothing to overcome the menace. The HRCP maintains that a broader approach is required, coupled with a willingness to end the air of secrecy that currently surrounds operations being carried out against the alleged terrorists.

The HRCP also condemned the repeated attacks on various election rallies and candidates, including the recent attack on the leaders and workers of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Karachi, Charsadda and the tribal areas that had resulted in the deaths of several party workers as well as of the vice-president of the ANP, Sindh.

The HRCP office-bearers maintained that these attacks exposed the nefarious aims and designs of the caretaker governments to rig the elections and also to intimidate the voters.

“The HRCP strongly condemns the attack and offers condolences to the grieved families and leaders and workers of the ANP”, the statement said.

“A government which cannot provide safety to the voters and their candidates is incapable of holding free and fair elections. The caretakers and President Pervez Musharraf have no moral or legal justification to remain in office,” it said.

The HRCP also condemned the violent attack on the peaceful gathering of lawyers, human rights activists and members of civil society in Islamabad on Feb 9 and the recent fake cases of sedition and war against state, registered against more than a dozen lawyers in Peshawar, who were protesting very peacefully against the arrest of the deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Aitzaz Ahsan, Justice Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd.

They were reiterating their demands for the restoration of the deposed judges of the superior courts, independence of the judiciary and the rule of law which is imperative for the protection of human rights and a precondition for a democratic setup.

The HRCP believes that targeting innocent people, suspending access to justice and repressing legitimate dissent will only create resentment, encourage extremism and exacerbate insecurity.
Source: Dawn
Date:2/13/2008