LAHORE: Over a hundred leading civil society organizations, bar councils, human rights bodies, journalists, editors, women and trade Union federations and leading intellectuals have called upon all political parties to resolve their differences over the framework and timing of elections through dialogue and mutual agreement.
They suggested reaching a national consensus in the Parliament and/or by holding an All-Parties Conference that the civil society is ready to facilitate as a concerned and neutral mediator.
According to the coordinator of the civil society organisations, Imtiaz Alam the concerned citizens of Pakistan committed to constitutional rule and a consistent democratic dispensation based on smooth electoral transition through a free, fair and transparent elections have agreed to issue the following appeal to all political parties and legitimate stakeholders, including the government, the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and all civil society organizations.
“The political crisis is increasingly becoming intractable, which is accentuating the economic woes of the masses. The leadership of the major political parties is on a war path and leaves little room for dialogue and accommodation. Before things go out of the hands of everybody, we feel extremely concerned about the kind of existential crises that may have very grave consequences for the nation.”
“Therefore, with all sincerity and a non-partisan approach, we call upon all political parties, the parliamentary parties in particular, to bring down current confrontational and intolerant rhetoric and sit together to sort out their political differences on the holding of election in the greater interests of the nation, the supremacy of the constitution and a mutually agreed peaceful democratic transition”.
The civil society organisations appealed to all parliamentary parties to hold an all-parties conference or/and sit together in the Parliament to find a plausible way out of the current political and constitutional impasse and reach a broader consensus on holding inclusive elections to ensure diversity with a mutual agreement on fair play and even playing field for all in order to give a free choice to the peoples of the federation of Pakistan to grant the mandate to their elected representatives.
Meanwhile, the civil society have agreed to form an Informal Group of Mediators (The Mediators) to engage with all political parties to start a reconciliation process to forge a national consensus on the holding of free, fair and transparent elections to all assemblies on a mutually agreed timeframe.
The Pakistan Bar Council has agreed to host an All-Parties Conference, if major political parties respond to this call.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023