ISLAMABAD, 17 April 2013: Regional and party-wise analysis of violence monitoring data by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) confirms claims by several political parties that their ability to campaign freely is being undermined and that direct intervention by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and state security forces is necessary to ensure a level playing field for General Elections planned on 11 May 2013.
FAFEN expresses its concern over the reports of withdrawal of security protection from candidates and party leaders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP), and other parties having a categorical position on extremism, who are under explicit threat from militants. FAFEN violence monitoring data since the announcement of the election schedule indicates escalation in violence and targeted attacks, warranting adequate security for all election contenders to campaign.
According to FAFEN monitoring, MQM was the target of five attacks, and four attacks were targeted at ANP. FAFEN monitors noted one attack each against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), PPP-Shaheed Bhutto, and Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz.
Notably, FAFEN violence monitors have recorded only one incident of political or election-related violence in Punjab province. One-third of violent incidents in these categories was recorded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) (31%, including 10 incidents in Peshawar), followed by Sindh (28%, including 18 incidents in Karachi), Balochistan (21%) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)(18%).
These General Elections will be the first held since Pakistan ratified in 2010 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR obligates the state of Pakistan “to take the necessary steps … to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary” (Article 2) to protect the rights of “peaceful assembly” (Article 21), “to take part in the conduct of public affairs” and “to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections” (Article 25), among other election-related rights, without “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” (Article 20).
FAFEN began monitoring political and electoral violence in March 2010. Violence Monitor reports and related publications, including an explanation of FAFEN’s monitoring methodology, are available on the FAFEN website at www.fafen.org and on FAFEN’s newly-launched dedicated portal for election information, www.electionpakistan.org.
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