President Asif Ali Zardari.— File Photo
President Asif Ali Zardari.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD, May 8: The Presidency and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are at loggerheads over the issue of providing security to the three mainstream political parties which are being persistently attacked by the Taliban as well as complaints by the PPP (Parliamentarians) about “biased attitude” of some members of the commission.

President Asif Ali Zardari wrote a confidential letter to Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim on April 30 drawing his attention to some issues which, according to him, would have disastrous consequences if left unaddressed.

The letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, mentioned some incidents and expressed “utmost concern” over the situation. The presidential communication warned the ECP of “disturbing consequences” if the issues were not resolved.

“A steady deterioration of the law and order situation with terrorist groups attacking political parties, particularly the PPP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) while some other parties have a free hand in running their election campaigns,” the letter said.

It said no measures had been taken to thwart the attempts by non-state actors against the “progressive political parties” which were being denied a level playing field. Except a few political parties in Punjab, the remaining parties in Punjab and three other provinces were facing terrorist attacks on a daily basis which had restricted their election campaigns, it added.

“The non-state actors are seeking to manipulate elections and want to doctor the election results to suit their obscurantist agenda posing a direct threat to the entire democratic process,” the letter said.

According to it, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif himself said the PPP’s election campaign had been restricted to media advertisements. Similarly, an MQM leader has publicly stated that there appears to be a “selection instead of election”.

A source in the Presidency said a copy of the letter had also been forwarded to caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.

The ECP responded to the Presidency’s communication on Tuesday with a four-line reply signed by an additional director general. It stated: “Necessary particulars/information regarding partisan local officials and election officers be provided to the commission as early as possible for probe into the matter and necessary action thereon.”

A few days ago President Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar also wrote a letter to the chief election commissioner urging him to order political parties to desist from targeting the president. But it was not acknowledged by the commission.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf accused the ECP on Wednesday of being partisan. He highlighted a number of incidents that prove the “bias of an ECP member from Punjab”.

Published May 09, 2013 02:50am

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Comments (3) (Closed)


tojo
May 09, 2013 07:47am

How ironic that the laws made by the ruling party cannot even protect them from local gangsters out to disrupt the elections?

Ahmer
May 09, 2013 08:33am

There is doubt that PML(N) and PTI have some secret understanding with TTP which attacks almost all other political parties.

DilShad Alam
May 09, 2013 12:41pm

For the last 5 long years. Zardari govt. did nothing for law and order or any other security progress .. except vip security. Dont expect anything from caretaker govt. The mandate is for free and fair elections . Not to look after PPP candiates.. . Thousands dead due to law and order situation during last 5 years. Dont cry foul now. just join them. Glory days ahead.