ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has warned that any delay in holding the general elections or any attempt to engineer the results will cast “dark shadows” over the federation.
Mr Rabbani said on Wednesday that the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had informed the federal government about threats faced by election candidates. The secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued a similar statement that he later withdrew.
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“The recent incidents of attacks on processions and party offices of various candidates are a curtain-raiser. The caretaker government has failed to take any practical steps in this regard,” said Mr Rabbani.
He said that under the Constitution it was the duty of the caretaker government to assist the ECP in holding free and fair elections.
“Campaigning without let or hindrances was a major issue in this regard. The election commission has also not made public the terms under which the armed forces have been asked to assist the returning officers in maintaining a peaceful atmosphere at the polling stations on polling day,” the former Senate chairman said.
Meanwhile, all major political parties have expressed concern over the recent incidents of violence and protests taking place during canvassing by various candidates and want the ECP and the caretaker government to stop such incidents. There is a consensus that the “politics of violence” should be condemned and discouraged at all levels.
When requested to comment on the matter, the information secretary of the PML-N, Mushahidullah Khan, said that politics of violence was neither in the interest of the country nor democracy.
He alleged that the “credit” for introducing a hostile political environment went to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. The PTI leaders had taught their workers to treat their political opponents as “enemies”, he said.
However, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said the people of Sindh and Punjab were venting their frustration and showing anger over the wrong policies of the previous governments of the two provinces.
“But, we do not support such acts. Those against these two parties [PPP and PML-N] are requested not to resort to violence and take revenge while voting against them in the elections,” he added.
“A violence-free political process is needed for the country. We should not encourage violence and we strongly condemn the Lyari incident [in which a PPP procession was pelted with stones],” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018