Human Rights Watch says Pak election panel not independent

February 12th, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by admin  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Feb 12 (ANI): Coming down heavily on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday warned that the commission had failed to investigate reports of campaign violations, threatening the validity of next week’s national polls.

The Election Commission’s lack of independence and impartiality is among the crucial structural issues impeding free and fair elections, HRW said.

The ECP has so far not given any reply to the allegation levelled by the group.

The commission had ignored reports of arrests and harassment of opposition party members, and failed to act independently from the President Pervez Musharrafs administration, the New York-based group said in a statement.

There have been numerous complaints of improper government assistance to the ruling party and illegal interference with opposition activities, said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director.

But the Election Commission has done nothing significant to address these problems, raising serious questions about its impartiality, Adams added.

The group also said that election candidates had so far filed over 1,500 complaints of irregularities, but few had been investigated. (ANI)

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