The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar's claim that fair elections are possible without the participation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman who is currently incarcerated in a graft case.
In a press release, the HRCP said that the prime minister's claim is "anti-democratic and ill-judged," as the courts have yet to establish guilt in any of these cases.
The commission also criticized the "systematic way" in which the PTI leadership has been dismantled through mass arrests, forced disassociation from the party, and curbs on their freedom of expression and assembly.
It said that this has created an uneven playing field for the upcoming elections.
The HRCP also condemned the treatment of former chief minister and PTI president Parvez Elahi, who was rearrested against the directive of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The commission reminded the government that the responsibility for ensuring free and fair elections falls to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
It urged the caretaker government to desist from making irresponsible, partisan statements on matters not within its mandate and to create and maintain an environment conducive to free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections.