President Alvi forwards PTI general secretary’s letter to PM Kakar.
Ayub discusses erosion of fundamental rights, level-playing field.
Alvi underscores citizens’ constitutional rights to support any party.
President Arif Alvi on Wednesday conveyed his party, Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) concerns regarding the “erosion of fundamental rights” and unavailability of a level-playing field for all political parties to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
The development comes as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to hold “free, fair and transparent” general elections in the country on February 8.
The president forwarded a letter, written by PTI General Secretary Omar Ayub Khan, containing the former ruling party’s concerns.
In the letter, Ayub conveyed the PTI’s concern on the erosion of fundamental rights, with particular reference to enforced disappearances, forced conversions of political loyalties, absence of a level-playing field for major political parties, crackdown on media and mistreatment of female political activists through prolonged illegal detentions.
Meanwhile, in a separate letter to the premier, President Alvi said that “it was of utmost importance that the caretaker government under the Prime Minister’s leadership made efforts as a neutral entity to provide a level-playing field for all political parties”.
He adds: “In this context, it was reassuring to hear your recent statements whereby you stated that it was [the] caretaker government’s policy that all registered political parties should have equal rights and opportunities to contest the forthcoming elections.”
As per a series of tweets, the president further highlighted in the letter that democracy was the “only viable way forward” for the State and people of Pakistan, the essence of which lay in giving people the right to partake in political activities and to be able to voice their opinions through free media.
He remarked there was a resonance in Pakistan that for free, fair and credible elections, all political parties and leaders had the right to contest and it was up to the people to decide.
Moreover, Alvi further stated in the letter that the “President of Pakistan represented the unity of the Republic as Head of State under Article 41 of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
It adds, “Therefore, both the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan along with all institutions were ‘duty bound’ to protect the rights of the citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution.
“He [Alvi] said that it was for this very reason, he was sending the letter containing PTI’s allegations, that had also been debated in the media, regarding the increasing cases of enforced disappearances of individuals with known political affiliation.”
He maintained that such instances became a matter of concern when such actions resulted in the conversion of political associations and/or loyalties.
“The issue became sensitive when female political workers were also subjected to prolonged detentions or frequent rearrests after court relief,” he added.
The president then referred to Article 4 of the Constitution about the “inalienable right of every citizen” to be treated in accordance with the law, and Article 17 about the citizens’ “right to form associations and/or be a member of a political party”.
Furthermore, he said that Article 19 of the Constitution stated that every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press.
Concluding the letter, President Alvi called on PM Kakar, “being the current Head of the Government, to look into the aforementioned issues”.