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November 13, 2019

Federal govt criticised for ‘victimising’ opposition leaders


November 13, 2019

A civil society gathering on Tuesday expressed serious concern over what it called “the undermining of the parliament, laws and the constitution by the federal government and state institutions”, which, it said, was causing a bad name for the country globally.

The participants condemned the alleged political victimisation of opposition leaders. At the meeting organised by the Pakistan Civil Society Forum at the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (Karachi office), human rights, labour rights and civil society activists demanded releasing all political leaders after following the legal procedures.

They condemned the delaying tactics being allegedly adopted by the federal government for giving former prime minister Nawaz Sharif permission to go abroad for medical treatment as he was facing serious health issues.

At last, the federal cabinet on Tuesday afternoon decided on certain conditions to remove Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) for a specified period. The Lahore High Court has already granted an eight-week bail to Sharif on health grounds.

Similarly, the civil society leaders pointed out that a former president of Pakistan and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Asif Ali Zardari, was also facing political victimisation as he had been kept in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi without framing any charges against him for many months and he was denied proper medical treatment and other legal rights.

On Tuesday, an accountability court in Islamabad refused an application to shift Zardari from Rawalpindi to Karachi for medical treatment.

Besides this, the civil society leaders said the federal government was undermining the parliament by making new laws through ordinances and getting them passed from the National Assembly in a single session without any serious debate. The opposition parties had protested against bulldosing the procedures.

They condemned the government’s attitude towards the democratic institutions, and undermining the sovereignty of the parliament, saying this was creating a bad name for

the country in the comity of nations.

The meeting also expressed serious concern over the shrinking space in the society as people were facing difficulties in exercising their fundamental rights given in the constitution, especially the freedoms of expression and association.

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