Benazir Bhutto accuses govt of shrinking space for opposition
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto demanded of the government on Saturday to bring to book those responsible for what she said the attack on the PPP MNA Qurban Ali Shah’s house and the death of a party worker Abu Bakr Panhwar in “police custody.”
Condemning the incidents of Mirpurkhas, she said it appeared that the government was deliberately targeting the PPP workers and creating a law and order situation just before the forthcoming local bodies elections.
She alleged the members of the government attacked the house of Qurban Shah in Mirpurkhas on Wednesday. She said when the PPP workers protested, the police baton charged and arrested them resulting also in the death in custody of Abu Bakr Panhwar, a loyal party worker.
In a statement issued from Bilawal House here, she called for an investigation into the murder of Abu Bakr Panhwar and arrest of the culprits.
She alleged the murder of Abu Bakr Panhwar and the attack on the house of Qurban Ali Shah “went against the declared policy of Mr. Musharraf to seek national reconciliation.” She said if the government was sincere about national reconciliation it must take action against elements in the government who were involved in unlawful acts such as murder and arson of innocent persons and their offices on political grounds. She alleged this was second murder following that of the PPP official and Union Council Nazim of Malir earlier this month.
She claimed the deteriorating law and order situation and state terrorism was witnessed in the attack on the house of a PPP MNA and the killing of a PPP worker in police custody in Mirpurkhas was most reprehensible.
She demanded a judicial probe into the incident and the registration of FIR of the murder of the PPP worker in police custody. She said that failure to do so would fan suspicion that some people in the government had planned to trigger ethnic riots in the province to suit their own political agenda.
She said the government was pursuing a deliberate course to shrink the political space for the opposition. She said it was bent upon achieving its objective through all means including resort to state terrorism. She also urged the human rights bodies to take note of what she termed the state brutality and raise their voice against it.
She vowed that the PPP would not be deterred by such strong-arm tactics and would not succumb to show of force. She expressed sympathy with the families of victims.