Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has called upon the caretaker Prime Minister and the Chief Election Commissioner to take immediate action in locating their forcibly disappeared leaders and workers, terming it a case of “blatant pre-poll rigging.” PTI’s Secretary General, Omar Ayub Khan, expressed deep concern over the mysterious disappearance of key party figures and workers and urged swift action.
In letters addressed separately to Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, Khan underscored the gravity of the situation. Copies of these letters have also been shared with provincial chief ministers.
Khan’s letter explicitly names PTI leaders whose whereabouts remain unknown, including Farrukh Habib, Sadaqat Abbasi, Usman Dar, Owais Younis, Irfan Saleem, Abdul Karim Khan, and Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid.
He characterized enforced disappearances as the “most serious of all the violations of the law and the Constitution,” asserting that it represents the “most blatant and open form of pre-poll rigging.” Khan emphasized the critical importance of addressing this issue, especially in the lead-up to a ‘free, fair, and impartial election.’
Omar Ayub Khan asserted that the enforced disappearance of these individuals represents a blatant infringement of the fundamental rights enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution. He called for their immediate release and demanded that those responsible for their disappearances be held accountable.
The letter further highlights the significance of this issue within the context of Pakistan’s electoral process. It asserts that this campaign of enforced disappearances not only aims to undermine PTI, one of Pakistan’s most popular political parties but also makes a mockery of the Election Act 2017. The campaign is viewed as a violation of Section 230(1)(d), which dictates that the caretaker government must remain impartial to every person and political party, and Section 186(d), which prohibits any official from taking actions intended to influence election outcomes.
Furthermore, Khan points out that these enforced disappearances also run counter to Pakistan’s commitments under various international covenants and treaties that address such matters. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), which is legally binding upon Pakistan according to customary international law principles.
The PTI’s call for action in the face of these enforced disappearances raises significant concerns regarding the protection of democratic processes and fundamental human rights in Pakistan. It calls upon the caretaker government and the Election Commission to uphold their responsibilities in ensuring a level playing field for all political parties as the country prepares for its next election.
As this situation unfolds, it is essential for all stakeholders to consider the implications of enforced disappearances on the integrity of the electoral process and the broader principles of justice and human rights. The PTI’s demand for immediate action and accountability in these cases underscores the gravity of the issue and the need for a comprehensive response.
In the coming days, the response of the caretaker government and the Election Commission to these allegations and demands will be closely watched, both within Pakistan and on the international stage. The ability to address these concerns effectively will not only impact the upcoming election but also shape perceptions of Pakistan’s commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.
The PTI’s call for action over the enforced disappearances of its leaders and workers reflects a broader concern for the protection of democratic processes and human rights in Pakistan. The allegations of pre-poll rigging through these disappearances raise important questions about the fairness and transparency of the upcoming election. As the situation evolves, all eyes will be on the response of the caretaker government and the Election Commission, with the hope that justice will prevail and democratic values will be upheld.