Karachi: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Friday asked authorities to maintain peace to ensure fairness in the upcoming general elections, as it criticised the government and the security forces for failing to prevent continued violence in the country`s biggest city.
"If your family lives in fear, then how can a fair election be held peacefully, which is a constitutional requirement?" said Khilji Arif Hussain, one of five Supreme Court judges investigating a massive bombing in Karachi.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary is heading the larger bench, comprising Justice Khawaja, Justice Hussain, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, which is holding hearings here after taking suo moto notice of Abbas town blasts and the deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan`s port city.
Justice Hussain during today`s hearing remarked that the general elections should be held in a peaceful atmosphere with citizens provided with a sense of security to go and cast their votes.
His remarks came after the bench criticised the Sindh government and law enforcement agencies for failing completely to provide security and peace to the citizens of the city.
About 50 people were killed and at least 135 injured in the Abbas town blasts on Sunday in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area.
The Sindh police earned the wrath of the court and media after presenting six people as the culprits behind the bombings. Later it emerged the men had been arrested before the bombings took place for petty crimes.
Justice Khilji observed that if a person lives in fear constantly how can he go and cast his vote out of his own free will.
Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari has instructed the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to take immediate steps to rehabilitate the victims of Abbas Town blasts and provide them with apartments.
Zardari held a meeting with the Chief Minister, provincial ministers, and the chief secretary of Sindh at the Chief Ministers` house and asked them to start relief efforts immediately.
Regarding the allotment of apartments, the Sindh government was instructed that the relatives of the deceased should be preferred.