President Alvi’s letter to the PM about PTI’s concern
In the times when Imran Khan, former prime minister, and his party’s central leaders are behind the jails while many have left the party, the calls for free and fair elections are getting momentum.
In this regard, President Arif Alvi wrote a letter to the caretaker PM Kakar, conveying the concerns of PTI regarding the level playing field for the upcoming general elections. The elections are scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024.
The President’s office shared a statement on its official X account. The post said that President Dr. Arif Alvi has conveyed to the Caretaker Prime Minister, Mr. Anwar ul Haq Kakar, the concerns of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the erosion of fundamental rights and level playing field for all political parties.
Provide a level playing field for all political parties
He also forwarded a letter addressed to him by the General Secretary of PTI, Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, to the Prime Minister containing the party’s concerns. In his letter, the President stated 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.
The President said, “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,” he wrote. He was referring to the PM’s recent statements, where assured that all political parties are allowed to contest in the elections. The PM also affirmed that those affiliated with PTI can also participate in the elections, as there are no sanctions on PTI by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
It was up to the people to decide
Alvi further highlighted 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 & credible elections, all political parties and leaders had the right to contest, and it was up to the people to decide.
The post stated that, Mr. Omar Ayub Khan had conveyed his party’s concern, through a letter, 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.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, the President said that the President of Pakistan represented the unity of the Republic as Head of State under Article 41 of the Constitution of Pakistan and was, therefore, duty-bound along with the Prime Minister and all institutions to protect the rights of the citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Increasing cases of enforced disappearances
It was for this very reason he was sending the letter containing PTI’s allegations, which had also been debated in the media, regarding the increasing cases of enforced disappearances of individuals with known political affiliation, he said.
He maintained that such instances became a matter of concern when such actions resulted in the conversion of political associations and loyalties. While he added that the issue became sensitive when female political workers were also subjected to prolonged detentions or frequent rearrests after court relief.
Every citizen shall have the right to form associations and be a political party member
The President wrote that Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan clearly stipulated that it was the inalienable right of every citizen to be treated in accordance with the law. In contrast, Article 17 of the Constitution provides that every citizen shall have the right to form associations and be a political party member.
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He further 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. “The Prime Minister, being Head of Government, may, therefore, kindly look into these issues,” he stated.