Pakistan Human Rights Advocates Say Uncertainty About Elections Must End


Pakistan continues to face uncertainty about when, and if, general elections will be held in the country. Such uncertainty and continued repression by the deep state do not bode well for the country.


In a recent statement the governing Council of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) “insisted that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announce an election schedule promptly such that polls are held as close as possible to the stipulated 90-day period. The delimitation of constituencies must also be completed quickly and efficiently and under no circumstances used as an excuse to delay the elections any further.”


The HRCP also expressed concern “by the scope for manipulating the electoral process by institutions such as NADRA and urges the ECP to guard against this possibility. The country is facing an increasingly polarised environment, in which religious and sectarian divisions are being exacerbated reportedly to carve out artificial political space for far right parties such as the TLP. The divisive and violent tactics used by such parties to build their political identities—particularly at the expense of religious minorities and sects—is eating into organic political and civic spaces. The continuing terrorist violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also made political parties more apprehensive about campaigning in the province—a pattern we have witnessed before and must not go through again.”


In conclusion the HRCP warned “apart from ensuring that free, fair and credible elections take place, the test of the current caretaker government is to see not only whether it will protect and respect people’s right to protest peacefully, but also whether it will respond to the issues that ordinary citizens are mobilising around.”


Author: Omar Derawal