- And the dangers of turning deaf
When different people with altogether different interests and backgrounds start raising an issue with a sense of urgency, one can brush it aside only at the cost of one’s credibility. A few days back former PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar named a number of army officers who were allegedly influencing elections through ‘threats and coercion’ in districts of Sindh specified by him. He demanded an inquiry. This was a serious charge that required a response either in the form of a detailed rebuttal or an enquiry. What followed was a stony silence.
Chairman National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan is neither a politician nor a media person. But he too is perturbed. The armed forces are at the disposal of CEC, he says, and this raises the issue of “the impartial and non-political role of these forces to avoid any notion of irregularity and intimidation by any political party.” Apparently Chairman NHCR keeps an ear to the ground.
A senior judge of the Islamabad High Court has passed a strongly worded judgment, sending its copies to the COAS and CJ. The judge has asked both to order the agencies to confine their activities within the scope provided by the constitution and stop meddling in the affairs of other departments.
DG ISPR meanwhile refuses to take note of the elephant in the room. Ignoring complaints emanating from various sections of society, he reiterated his earlier stance rejecting the notion that the security forces have any direct role in how the July 25 elections will unfold. When questions asked repeatedly remain unanswered, those raising them often conclude that their notions were confirmed.
Last month Gen Bajwa assured the nation of army’s help in conducting fair and transparent general elections. On several occasions CJ Nisar has also reiterated his resolve to ensure that that the present elections would be fair and free. Once he promised that the 25 July elections would rival the 1970 uncontroversial polls. One hopes both the COAS and CJ will take adequate actions to dispel the perception being formed about the elections being rigged.