The commission terms the by-polls held on Sunday ‘too little’ for democracy
ISLAMABAD: Terming the by-polls on Sunday ‘too little’ for democracy, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has urged political parties to focus on the fundamental issue of meaningful reforms in the electoral system.
“The election was very expensive, even after making allowances. This reinforced the trend that only the rich can afford to contest,” the commission said in a statement issued on Monday, a day after the NA-122 by-poll in Lahore.
While the polls were held in a peaceful manner, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) indulged into personal attacks, and ignored the issues concerning common citizens, the statement added.
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The HRCP said “elections are supposed to be occasions to advance people’s understanding of democracy and its relevance to their issues,” noting that holding of the entire exercise ‘at gunpoint’ and under military supervision is not in accordance with democratic principles.
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The HRCP called upon political parties to collaborate in order to strengthen civilian mechanism and institutions that manage elections.
It pointed out that a draft relating to electoral reforms – proposed after objections on the fairness of 2013 general elections – was still lying with a parliamentary panel formed in August 2014.
“Further delay in approving the draft would make it difficult for the Election Commission of Pakistan to implement the suggestions in the 2018 general elections due to time and resource constraints,” the HRCP said.