LAHORE: A leading Pakistani human rights watchdog has expressed serious concern at the continuing terrorist attacks on election candidates, activists and campaigns of certain political parties.
In a press release issued Friday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (Pakistan) strongly condemned the bomb explosion on the election office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi on Thursday evening.
Six people were killed and 12 injured in Thursday’s bombing, the second such attack on the MQM in Karachi in the past three days.
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has vowed to target the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and MQM for their secular views, also claimed responsibility of Thursday’s bombing.
“HRCP…believes that the continuing attacks on the candidates and workers of some political parties unmistakably display an angle of partisan politics in which parties that advocate certain views are being attacked,” said the rights watchdog.
“If this targeted violence persists, it would render the elections meaningless and make the country hostage to fascist forces.”
The HRCP also criticised the interim government and the Election Commission for failing at their responsibility of providing the required security to election candidates.
“The caretaker set-up and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have repeatedly vowed security for the candidates and the election campaigns. If that security has indeed been provided it does not appear to have made a difference and has certainly not made the parties and their workers at the receiving end of this rather systemic targeting feel secure at all,” said the press release.
“It does not inspire confidence that not one perpet
rator of the numerous attacks targeting the MQM and the ANP in the last few days has been arrested.”
The HRCP said it would write to the chief election commissioner to convey its concerns, and to ensure that parties could continue their campaigns without fear of attacks.