HRCP decries ‘charade in the name of scrutiny’

Dawn.com LAHORE, April 5: A leading Pakistani human rights watchdog has expressed alarm over recent “undesirable developments” in Pakistan, including what it describes as a “charade” in the name of scrutiny of nomination papers. nomination-papers-670“Those ‘managing’ the election affairs have embroiled the people in issues that are as irrelevant as they are unnecessary,” the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said in a hard-hitting statement issued Friday. “Candidates for the general elections are being asked questions that have no link whatever with the law and the constitution.” Several candidates for the forthcoming general elections have complained of being bombarded with inappropriate and provoking questions during scrutiny of candidacy paper, with some questions relating to religious text and others to personal issues. According to the Pakistan’s constitution, a person cannot qualify to be a Member of Parliament if he “violates Islamic injunctions,” or has “worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan.” In its statement, the HRCP especially noted the rejection of popular columnist and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Ayaz Amir’s nomination papers by election commission staff for allegedly ‘flouting’ the ideology of Pakistan in one of his articles. “The disqualification binge is fast turning into a farce that not only denies people the right to elect their representatives but also violates the most basic principle of natural justice,” The HRCP said it fears the “undesirable developments” may “circumvent people’s democratic rights and strengthen obscurantist elements.” “Sinister forces are striking at the very foundation of democracy in the country. This cull of candidates is set to defeat the very purpose of holding elections, and is aimed at inciting disputes and creating divisions among politicians and paving the way for conservative obscurantists,” read the statement. “The commission fears that if the events of the past few days and weeks were not stopped then the dream of realizing genuine democracy in the country would become just that, a dream.”]]>

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