Pak caretaker Govts neutrality questioned by civil society organisations

November 17th, 2007 - 4:24 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 17 (ANI): A coalition of 30 civil society organisations advocating for electoral and democratic reforms has expressed its concern over the process and composition of the caretaker government in Pakistan.
In a statement issued here, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) stressed that the neutrality of the caretaker government was vital for free and fair elections.
Article 224, clause 7 of the Constitution also clearly specifies the fact that neither the caretaker Prime Minister nor the caretaker Chief Ministers shall be eligible to contest the elections.
A caretaker set-up comprising personalities who are either politically affiliated or have a stake in the results of upcoming elections is contrary to the concept of neutrality.
Caretaker governments are constituted in consultation with all stakeholders in order to create a greater legitimacy of election and its results, the statement said.
It, however, observed that the caretaker government comprises many names who were affiliated with a political party.
The caretaker Prime Minister himself was elected to the Chairman of the Senate with the support of the then ruling party, which is now an election contender. He has yet to relinquish his post as Senate Chairman.
In addition there are some other affiliates of the same political party who have been inducted into the caretaker cabinet. Some of them continue to retain the elected offices, which they had won as the candidate of the then ruling party.
A politically partisan caretaker set-up has the potential of impeding a free election that requires robust competition among candidates in which the electorate is well-informed about candidates differing platforms or viewpoints, the Dawn reported.
A real political campaign can only be held in an environment with equitable access to open media, a “playing field” not dominated by the incumbent government, and security provided equally to all competitors by the state so that voters do not fear attending political events. (ANI)

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