HRCP raps Faisalabad violence
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over Monday’s violent clashes in Faisalabad and criticised the authorities for not doing enough to maintain law and order as well as failing to constructively engage the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf through a dialogue.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the commission said: “HRCP is saddened by the violence in Faisalabad that resulted in the death of a PTI activist and injuries to several others, including policemen.”
It said under all circumstances, it was the obligation of the authorities to ensure that law and order was maintained and citizens’ lives and rights protected. It was lamentable that even though many indications had suggested that the protest on Monday could turn violent, not least because of provocative tirades from both the ruling party and the PTI, the authorities did not show the necessary resolve and imaginativeness to ensure law and order. Police passively looking on as individuals openly used firearms was just one indication of that.
The commission said the violence and clashes between activists of the PTI and the PML-N in Faisalabad had not only complicated an already tense political situation but also introduced a more violent strain in the political wrangling.
“Because of media coverage of the sad events on Monday, the killer of the PTI activist has not remained anonymous. He must be arrested and tried without delay.”
Another matter of concern had been reports of PTI workers in Faisalabad forcibly trying to shut down markets, burning tyres on roads and intimidating media workers. Both sides needed to be reminded about the need for restraint and taking responsibility for the actions of the crowds they mobilised, it said.
“HRCP believes that engaging the PTI rather than hoping that its campaign would fizzle out or its call would not find support among the masses should be the preferred course for the government. Both sides have an infinitely better chance of finding solutions to the impasse through a dialogue rather than through the constant exchange of accusation and insults.”
HRCP said among the first points to ponder for both sides should be finding ways to abandon the provocative demeanour and leave behind the environment of hostility and confrontation. Finally, the events in Faisalabad also highlighted the need for protection of media workers. The safety concerns of journalists covering these developments must be addressed and a public commitment to that effect by both sides would not go amiss.