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July 2, 2019

PPP protests against Section 144 in tribal areas

National

July 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has complained to the Chief Election Commissioner about the imposition of Section 144 in erstwhile tribal districts hampering free and fair elections scheduled for July 20.

In a letter address to the CEC Monday the Party Secretary General Farhatullah Babar said, "Access to voters through public meetings by candidates and their parties' leaders is of paramount importance to present to the people alternate political narratives that can change their lives". “The PPP urged that the executive authorities be directed to "refrain from imposing Section 144 or otherwise banning entry to outsiders in the tribal areas,” the letter further said.

Farhatullah Babar stated in the letter to Chief Election Commissioner that he wish to compliment the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for ordering last Friday the immediate release of two independent candidates from South Waziristan tribal district to freely contest July 20, 2019 elections declaring the arrests "tantamount to pre-poll rigging". Bold and just pronouncements like this are needed if the electoral exercise is not to look like a farce. "May I draw your kind attention towards other acts of the executive that tantamount to pre-poll rigging. These acts have not even been noticed, much less agitated, because of the environment of black hole clamped on the area,” he said.

He stated in the letter that one such act is the denial to the candidates and their party leaders to freely reach out to the voters by imposing Section 144. “The window of opportunity afforded by the July 20 elections to change the status quo is being closed down by Section 144 denying a reach out to voters,” he stated in a letter. Farhatullah Babar said beginning with South Waziristan the leadership of the PPP plans to visit the erstwhile tribal districts to campaign for its candidates.