LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is gravely concerned at the escalating threat to independent candidate Jibran Nasir in Karachi.
Mr Nasir and his supporters who have been canvassing on rights-based issues such as access to water, housing and education, have been targeted consistently by right-wing elements, especially over the last week.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the HRCP condemned “the violence and malice that has dogged Mr Nasir’s election campaign. It is of serious concern to the Commission that local clerics and supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have reportedly incited charged mobs to engage in violence to prevent him from canvassing.
“No member of the public or of any state institution has any right whatsoever to question – or indeed, to demand he prove – his faith. The frightening implications this could have for Mr Nasir’s personal safety and that of his political workers should be lost on no one – least of all the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government.”
The HRCP further stated, “the constant vitriol of TLP supporters such as cleric Naveed Abbasi violates the ECP’s code of conduct for political parties. Given that the TLP has been accorded the status of a legitimate party, HRCP demands that the ECP disqualify any TLP (or other) candidates linked to inciting such violence and provide Mr Nasir with proper security.”
It also demanded that the caretaker government in Sindh ensure that Jibran Nasir is allowed to seek registration of cases immediately against those who have threatened or attacked him and his supporters.