(Courtesy DAWN)The Pakistan People’s Party has condemned what it called continuing victimisation of party workers as “a planned and orchestrated pre-poll rigging” aimed at forcing activists to keep away from elections.
“The registration of new cases and reopening of several years old cases to implicate party leaders and workers was clearly designed to put pressure and to disable them on the eve of elections,” PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said in a statement on Sunday.
He pointed out that arrest warrants for a dozen of PPP leaders, including six former MPAs, were issued in Karachi on Saturday for allegedly creating a law and order situation in the city after the murder of party’s Sindh information secretary Munawar Suharwardy three years ago.
Former MPAs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Mazhar Marvi, Sassui Palejo, Mehreen Bhutto and Sharfunissa Leghari were declared absconders, their names ordered to be published in newspapers and police directed to arrest them.
The Sindh police registered cases against over 100 party workers on charges of blocking the Dadu-Larkana road and burning tyres on Friday night in protest against the arrest of PPP workers.
Using blind FIRs as a pretext, police raided homes of workers and misbehaved with women. Thousands of workers were previously nominated in criminal cases following disturbances in the wake of martyrdom of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He said that under such circumstances when candidates and voters were subjected to intimidation and complaints against it remained unattended with a powerless Election Commission, the elections would neither be free nor fair. He demanded release of workers and withdrawal of fictitious cases against them and an end to the practice of registering blind FIRs for using them against political workers later.
The party called upon the international community to press the Musharraf regime to desist from electoral manipulation by arresting and intimidating party workers and candidates, he said.