February 12, 2008 Karachi: In a joint statement issued to the press Mr. Iqbal Haider, Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Ms. Zohra Yusuf, Vice Chairperson, HRCP strongly condemned spread of mob violence and lawlessness across the country, just before the general elections in Pakistan. This violence has spiraled completely out of control of the government, and is threatening to plunge the country into a state of total anarchy.
Recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan show the failure of anti-terrorism policies. It is obvious that mere policing and random arrests can do nothing to overcome the menace. A broader approach is required, coupled with a willingness to end the air of secrecy that currently surrounds operations being carried out against alleged terrorists, the statement said. Repeated attack on the election campaigns and the candidates, including the recent attack on the workers of ANP resulting in deaths of several party workers indicate there are attempts to intimidate voters. HRCP strongly condemns the attack and condoles with the grieved families and leaders and workers of ANP. A government which cannot provide safety to the voters and their candidates is incapable of holding free and fair elections.
The caretakers and President Pervez Musharraf have no moral or legal justification to remain in office. HRCP also condemns the violent attack on the peaceful gathering of lawyers, human rights activists and members of the civil society in Islamabad on February 09, 2007 and the recent fake cases of sedition and war against state registered against more than a dozen lawyers in Peshawar, who were protesting against the arrest of the Chief Justice, Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, Mr. Justice Tariq Mehmood and Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd. HRCP believes that targeting innocent people, suspending access to justice and repressing legitimate dissent would only create resentment, encourage extremism and exacerbate insecurity.Iqbal Haider