Returning Officers 'sabotaging' democracy: HRCP -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Returning Officers ‘sabotaging’ democracy: HRCP

LAHORE: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious concern over “systematic attempts to exclude candidates from elections and to sabotage people’s ability to elect candidates of their choice.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, HRCP Executive Council explained that the latest process of scrutiny of candidates is a “witch hunt aimed at harassing and humiliating candidates. It undermines the essence of what democracy entails and shows a complete lack of faith in the people’s right and ability to choose their representatives.”

HRCP said political governments are shying away from “acknowledging overt interference in active politics by state institutions who had no business in doing that. That is why the process today is subject to manipulation by a number of vested interests of non-representative groups, institutions and bodies.”

The ‘selection’ of candidates in the last few days also raises other, deeper questions, argued HRCP adding that it sees a “clear and systematic sabotage of the democratic process to make the will of the people completely irrelevant. This deliberate and planned abuse of the process appears to be a bid to complete Zia-ul Haq’s agenda to accommodate extremism into mainstream politics and to thrust theocratic rule down people’s throats.”

HRCP has called on “political parties and the civil society to vigilantly guard against these latest attempts to liquidate democracy in Pakistan and resolutely reject any and all bids to delay elections under any pretext or to introduce unrepresentative rule. That would be exceedingly unwise and dangerous and something that Pakistan simply cannot afford at this juncture. HRCP also demands that the Election Commission intervenes to stop the asymmetric warfare on the electoral process.”

The HRCP has also called on “all political leadership to express their opinion openly on this devious plan of enforcing selective rule of a few so-called angels on Pakistan’s fate. The sole voice denouncing such tendency has come from the head of only one political party. Others too need to shed their fear and speak up at this critical moment.”

Source: Daily Times

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