KARACHI - Major political parties are speaking up against pre-poll manipulation and favours being given to selective parties to get the desired results.

Political parties are showing an extreme distrust in the upcoming elections. Without naming the state institutions, they say they are not being provided a level playing field. Political parties like the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) the major political parity in the Sindh Province; Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), a dominating political party of the urban Sindh; Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqqiqi (MQM-H), having Urdu-speaking vote bank in some areas of Karachi; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) have termed the upcoming elections controversial.

These political parties have accused interim governments, the Election Commission of Pakistan and some invisible forces of providing space to some political parties and creating hurdles for others.

The PPP leadership condemned the election commission, interim governments and state institutions for giving complete freedom to some parties and putting hurdles in election campaigns of others. PPP Karachi Division President Saeed Ghani accused the authorities of adopting a biased approach while implementing the election code of conduct in Karachi. He said that police in Karachi was taking away their banners and flags even from private vehicles and residences. “It seems that certain forces are trying to hinder the PPP’s campaign in the city,” he said. He said that PTI and PSP were two major parities having complete backing and support in the election campaign. He said this was the first time in the last thirty years that Karachiities would cast their votes without any pressure, but some forces were trying to sabotage the election process. He said that such things would further decrease the voter turnout from 45 percent to 20 percent. He demanded that the election commission treat all parties equally and said that such acts are strengthening the call for election boycott by MQM founder Altaf Hussain.

Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, convener of MQM-Pakistan, said, “All efforts have been made to keep the MQM-P away from the election process.” He said, “Efforts to transfer MQM’s urban mandate to some political parties are under way.” He said the administration not even allowed the MQM to hold public gatherings and rallies and was forcing the party to boycott the election.

MQM Haqqiqi Chairman Afaq Ahmed termed the elections a drama and described the process as selection. “If the election commission does not want some political parties to contest the election, there is no need for elections,” he said. He said that efforts to keep the MQM-H away from the election process were going on. He said it was evident that some political parties would be elected through manipulation, but it would be dangerous for the country and democracy. 

Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, chief of Jamat-e-Islami in Karachi, told The Nation that favouritism in the elections was evident and some parties were facing all sorts of restrictions. He said that some political parties had been given a free hand to bulldoze the ECP code of conduct. He said that those who looted the national money were running their campaign through the media and airing advertisements on television channels worth millions of rupees, but the ECP was unable to take notice of such highly paid campaigns. He said the PTI had all kinds of permissions to run its campaign, but rest of the parties were facing extreme restrictions on their election campaigns. He said that courts’ decisions against a single political party made the election process controversial and provided cover to other corrupt political leaders and parties.

Khowaja Tariq Nazir, general secretary of the PML-N in Karachi, told The Nation that the PML-N was suffering in the same way in Lahore and Karachi. He said that only three political parities -- PTI, PSP and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan -- had the right to contest the elections. He said that state institutions supposed to protect lives and properties of people and defending borders of the country were influencing the political process. He said the constitution of Pakistan allows the contenders to approach voters, but the ECP code of conduct restrains the political parties from doing so.