Lahore, February 27: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed shock and alarm at the deviations from normal sensible behaviour that were witnessed during by-elections held in ten constituencies on Sunday.
A statement issued by HRCP on Monday said: “The events that took place during the by-elections have pointed to the dangers that can haunt us come the general election. These include preventing women from voting under agreement or otherwise, violence upon polling staff, unrestricted display of firearms and firing around polling booths and employment of police personnel for interference in legitimate balloting. All these events reported during this limited exercise must be thoroughly probed and no quarters given to any offender party, otherwise the dream of free and fair elections would forever remain elusive. The remedy lies not only with the Election Commission—although it has the first responsibility in the presence of abundant evidence of the infractions—but also with the government and the political parties and above all with the people who have to demonstrate responsibility and commitment to the democratic principle rather than to petty interests or clan loyalty.”