HRCP insists on civilian supremacy in ongoing political crisis

PoliticsHRCP insists on civilian supremacy in ongoing political crisis

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has warned all political stakeholders that unless they desist from any further measures that could imperil the Country’s fragile democracy, they may find themselves unable to steer the Country safely through the multiple crises it is facing.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Chairperson HRCP Hina Jilani said that the Commission has closely monitored the ongoing political crisis and notes with great alarm that civilian supremacy has emerged as the greatest casualty.

Hina Jilani said that the government’s inability—or unwillingness—to safeguard civilian supremacy or to preserve the dignity of Parliament has proven tremendously disappointing.

At the same time, the political opposition’s history of hostile politics and contempt for the rule of law has played no small part in triggering the wanton destruction of property during May 9-10, 2023, she said.

These were not peaceful protests. The evidence points to acts of arson, rioting, looting, vandalism and trespass onto state and private property.

The judiciary too has been found wanting, its unity and nonpartisanship compromised, with serious implications for the trichotomy of powers.HRCP insists on civilian supremacy in ongoing political crisis

Hina Jilani said that the HRCP regrets that the failure of the judiciary to credibly maintain its independence and impartiality has exacerbated the rule-of-law crisis in the country.

While many allegations of violence and custodial torture against political workers and PTI supporters—including women and minors—have yet to be verified, all such allegations merit independent investigation.

The Chairperson said that the HRCP reminds the authorities that torture or any form of degrading treatment of persons in custody are serious violations of human rights.

The disappearance of at least two journalists must also be investigated in a transparent manner, the findings made public and the perpetrators held strictly to account, she said.

The Chairperson HRCP Hina Jilani said that of particular concern is the government’s decision to try civilians under the Pakistan Army Act 1952. While those responsible for the destruction of public and private property must undoubtedly be held accountable, there is ample provision in civilian laws for this.

Hina Jilani note that any government seriously committed to upholding civilian supremacy would strongly consider repealing Article 2(1)(d) of the Act, which allows civilians to be tried in military courts, thereby denying them their constitutional right to a fair trial. HRCP also objects to the arbitrary manner in which certain cases are selected to be tried by military courts, thereby violating the principle of equality before the law and equal protection of the law.

While all political parties must adhere to democratic, peaceful and bona fide means to further their political agendas, she added, the HRCP sees no benefit to Pakistan’s polity in banning a political party.

“We consider any step by the government to ban the PTI both reckless and disproportionate. In the long term, it would strengthen a bad precedent and prevent political parties from developing naturally in line with the wishes of their electorate,” she said.

Hina Jilani said that HRCP insists that, under no circumstances should national elections be delayed beyond October 2023.

Such a step by the government would amount to derailing the democratic process and compound the current political instability, she said.

The Chairperson said that anything less than free, fair and credible elections in an environment that allows the exercise of all fundamental freedoms, will leave the country open to further ill-judged and undemocratic political ‘experiments’.

Furthermore, she said that above all, the HRCP is deeply concerned by the rapid pace at which non-political forces are wresting the space for which Pakistani civil society has fought long and hard. She said that the democracy that Pakistan’s people want and deserve cannot be built on fluid loyalties and shifting narratives.

The Chairperson said that the HRCP opposed what it saw as political engineering in the 2018 elections but it objects just as strongly to the tactics employed in the attempt to reverse-engineer the democratic process.

Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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