ISLAMABAD: Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the arrest of Sajjad Jhakrani, Tehsil Nazim Jacobabad, and said that the highhandedness against Jhakranis was aimed at pressurizing the PPP candidate Aijaz Khan Jhakrani, a cousin of the arrested Nazim and demanded an end to the victimization of the party candidates.
According to a statement, issued here on Tuesday, Sajjad Jhakrani was sent to police lock up and kept in inhuman conditions soon after the cancellation of his bail by an anti corruption court on Monday. The PPP candidate Aijaz Jhakrani is pitted against Fahd Malik, nephew of caretaker Prime Minister Mianmuhammed Soomro for National Assembly seat NA 208. Earlier the father and other relatives of Aijaz Jhakrani were also arrested and sent to police lock ups, said the party spokesman.
“The unwarranted arrests and brutal victimization of PPP candidates has made a mockery of the tall claims to hold free and fair elections,” he said. Asif Zardari said that PPP was keeping a record of all such cases of highhandedness and warned that those involved will be held accountable for their illegal actions. He deplored that Sajjad Jhakhrani was kept incommunicado in the police lock up and his relatives and friends were not allowed to meet him.
He called upon the Election Commission to wake up to its responsibility and prevent the coercion and intimidation of opposition candidates. If the ECP is helpless before the caretakers and cannot take action against those committing atrocities on opposition candidates, it should stop bragging about fair and free polls, he said.
Zardari also called upon the international community and human rights bodies to agitate the issue of victimization of PPP candidates by the caretakers and a pliant Election Commission not doing anything and looking the other way. The PPP Co-Chairman also paid tributes to Aijaz Jhakrani and Sajjad Jhakrani for their courage to stand up and refuse to be cowed down. He said that the party will stand by them and all those who are victims of highhandedness.-SANA