Electoral freedom is of the utmost importance especially when the general elections are just around the corner. This is the only time that political parties have to engage with the voters before the elections. Corner meetings, political gatherings, banners, and pamphlets are all used in this process to impart the maximum information about the parties. However, there are several reports that this electoral freedom is being curbed for many political parties. From parties like the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) to Awami Workers Party (AWP) - all are excessively protesting this stifling control being exercised.

PMLN workers have been actively arrested in the last week prior to the return of former premier Nawaz Sharif. The reports are that the caretaker setup is issuing orders to arrest core leaders and supporters of the party. Twitter is filled with accounts of late night encounters and police officials arresting supporters. This has left the masses aghast as there were promises of the caretaker setup playing the role of a neutral party in the entire scenario but these allegations prove otherwise.

AWP leader Ammar Rashid also pointed out how he along with his party members were not allowed to enter Islamabad with election material, which included relevant banners, due to security concerns but according to him Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) banners are across Islamabad. This certainly strengthens the narrative that these elections are engineered and Pakistan cannot afford these allegations at this point. Many core constituents are also coming on national television to claim that the security agencies of the country are intimidating them to dismiss their association with their parties and contest as independent candidates.

If this has become common knowledge, it should be a cause for concern. It is the responsibility of the caretaker setup to address these claims publicly and investigate the matter. The entire government machinery should now be working to ensure that all parties get the electoral freedom promised by the law and whoever is intervening in the process is held accountable. Engineering elections is a crime, no matter who commits it.