Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Election Monitor 2013

Civil society condemns attacks on secular parties

Daily The News

Members of the civil society have expressed their solidarity with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party and Pakistan Peoples Party by condemning the bomb attacks on their offices and workers. “They are being singled out for promoting secular and liberal ideals by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,” it was said during a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday. Members of the civil society included representatives from the Aurat Foundation, Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), Tehreek-e-Niswan, Joint Action Committee, Women Action Forum and the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA). The attacks on these political parties show the failure of the caretaker government, intelligence and law enforcing agencies. If the current situation persists, civilians will be too afraid to come out of their houses and vote on Election Day, the civil society members stated. They demanded that the State provide healthcare for the victims as well as free for education the children of those affected by the bombings apart from monetary assistance to their families.

Uzma Noorani of the HRCP said that if the parties promoting secular ideals were being targeted and not allowed to participate in the elections, the whole idea of ‘free and fair’ polls would become a farce. She said that the military should be called to help the government provide security during elections. “Political parties which are not being attacked should also speak out against these terrorists if they want democracy to flourish,” she said. It was pointed out that the right to vote for the Ahmedi community was severely affected as they could not cast their ballot without renouncing their faith and calling themselves non-Muslims. “If I am forced to remain in my home, how will I interact with my peers and form opinions?” asked Sheema Kirmani from Tehreek-e-Niswan.The participants at the press conference also condemned the anti-women empowerment campaign by former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim.

The politician, according to media reports, claimed that in societies where women are allowed to step out of their homes, children being born out of wedlock become a common phenomenon. The participants called for a de-weaponisation campaign where the display of arms is banned.

During the question answer session, it was pointed out that all these secular-liberal parties, which were under attack, also possessed militant wings that were equipped with modern weapons. “We are not supporting a political party. We want a weapon-free Pakistan, where the life of every citizen is safe,” it was clarified.