Rights body criticises army intervention in Pak crisis

 The involvement of Pakistani army to adjudicate upon political matters is an "exceeding gloomy day for the country", the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) today said, claiming that democratic transition in the country is still a long way off.

PTI| Updated: Aug 31, 2014, 00:34 AM IST

Lahore: The involvement of Pakistani army to adjudicate upon political matters is an "exceeding gloomy day for the country", the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) today said, claiming that democratic transition in the country is still a long way off.

"There should be no two views about the fact that the day when political discord needs adjudication from the military is an exceeding gloomy day for Pakistan," the HRCP said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that that day is upon us now. This was exactly what the civil and all pro-democracy forces had feared and cautioned against," it added.

The comments by the rights body came at a time when Pakistan's powerful army has been active behind the scenes to end the protests by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and populist cleric Tahirul Qadri who are demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, alleging rigging in polls last year.

Sharif has said he would neither resign nor dissolve the Parliament.

The army has been active behind the scenes to broker a deal after Qadri and Khan met army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday night, sources said.

HRW said: "developments in the last few days prove that the democratic transition that had been prematurely celebrated is a long way off yet."

"The closing of ranks among the politicians to protect democracy and the constitution from this latest ambush has been the most pleasant outcome of the circus going on in Islamabad," it said.

The commission said: "There is no doubt any longer about who played the dirty part in this sordid affair."

It said that Khan and Qadri have been camping in the capital with "the solitary objective to do all they could to invite a role from the military."

The HRCP called on the parliamentarians to continue efforts to ensure that the expression of the will of the people is protected and not squandered in the face of threats and abuse by people with "questionable agendas."