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Pakistan Army Backs Imran Khan's PTI in Dirtiest Possible Election, Says Human Rights Chairman

The strong perception in and around Pakistan is that the Army, or the establishment as it is called in the Islamic Republic, has thrown its weight behind Imran Khan’s PTI. Simultaneously, top PML(N) leaders, including former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, have been jailed.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:July 24, 2018, 10:53 AM IST
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Pakistan Army Backs Imran Khan's PTI in Dirtiest Possible Election, Says Human Rights Chairman
A supporter of Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), political party, wears a mask and dance on party songs during a campaign rally ahead of general elections in Karachi, Pakistan. (Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: The Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Sindh has said that the elections in Pakistan are the dirtiest this time and it’s all because of the Army.

Speaking to News18, Asad Butt, the vice chairperson of HRC, Sindh, said that the dirty role of the Army was visible in every section of life.

A few days ago, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called it the dirtiest elections so far in the country. The statement was made by IA Rehman, a leading human rights advocate and the director of HRCP.

“Elections are going to be very unfair. Major parties are being restricted from contesting, convincing and contacting the voters and there is one specific party that is being promoted by the establishment,” Butt said.

The strong perception in and around Pakistan is that the Army, or the establishment as it is called in the Islamic Republic, has thrown its weight behind Imran Khan’s PTI. Simultaneously, top PML(N) leaders, including former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, have been jailed. Former PM Benazir Bhutto’s son, Bilawal, who is now leading the charge for PPP, has repeatedly spoken about his movement being restricted.

“We have received so many complaints from various parts of country that the Rangers, ISI officials dictate to the public to support PTI. And if they don’t cast their vote for PTI, they ask people to sit at home and enjoy the holidays,” Butt added.

The elections, he further said, are the worst that he has seen in his life. The establishment, he added, has supressed political parties, media, judiciary and even the Election Commission to get favourable results in the general elections.

“Workers, candidates and voters are harassed and people are being told to either withdraw from voting or support the establishment-backed parties and candidates,” he added.

Butt, however, also said that suppression of human rights was a continuous practice in Pakistan but this time around the newest addition to it was depriving people from their free will to vote. The space for a free society, he added, was shrinking day by day.

“We are observing the right to expression, right to life and right to vote and they are all being compromised. Further, due to the annoying banned outfits and religious extremists, the right to faith will also hurt this election. We need lesser role of the Army to create more space for democratic development,” Butt said.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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