ISLAMABAD: National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) Chairman Ali Nawaz Chauhan and all members of the commission on Tuesday strongly condemned the recent attacks on the political gatherings in Mastung and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In an official statement, they said that these attacks killed hundreds of peaceful civilians who were exercising their constitutional right to political assembly. These attacks against civilians in political gatherings are crimes against humanity and those responsible for planning and carrying them out should be brought to justice. According to the statement, NCHR Chairman Ali Nawaz Chauhan said that well-established principles of international law require that those in authority be held accountable when people under their control commit crimes against humanity. “Leaders who fail to take reasonable preventive action, or fail to punish the perpetrators are also responsible for such crimes,” he said. At the onset of election 2018, the political activities have been obstructed by tragic events in two provinces. In KP, the corner meeting of Haroon Bilour was attacked by a suicide bomber; the candidate Haroon Bilour himself and many other political workers who had been attending this meeting died on the spot. This attack was still being mourned when a second corner meeting was attacked in Mastung, Balochistan, where Siraj Raisani, the candidate and more than hundreds of people died as a result of suicide attack. Yet another incident of terror was witnessed in KP when the former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani along with his companions was attacked by a suicide bomber where luckily former CM Akram Khan Durrani remained safe while many others died as a result of this attack. The three incidents that occurred one after the other have left a large number of affectees. The deadliest and most fatal attack occurred in Mastung, where the death toll is among the highest, and which has raised some very serious questions that need to be addressed. Both the martyrdom of Bilour and Siraj Raisani is worrisome as it discourages political activity which is integral for continuation of democracy, the NCHR chairman said. Activities during elections are visualised as the right of the people to participate in the political process. Security for this purpose should have been sound and foolproof thus discouraging any such attempt that could sabotage election schedule. A look at Balochistan incident is a big emotional setback. There are families who have lost up to seven and 13 members, at some places it has been reported that no male was left to recite fateha. In many cases, families have lost all the bread winners. What would be the future of those households if an emancipation process does not take place immediately? Besides many other dimensions, one crucial and most important dimension is the emotional set back, but also the fear of being deprived of all means of livelihood in the affected families. Rehabilitation of affectees of all three incidents in both the provinces is the most important work that the government needs to take up as priority, Ali Nawaz Chauhan said. The NCHR is also concerned about the lack of facilities available in the hospitals. As it was reported that in the incident of Mastung, before arrival of the rescue teams, people took the injured to hospital via cabs. The ambulances brought survivors to Quetta Civil Hospital where a state of emergency was imposed by the provincial government. On Saturday, the Quetta Civil Hospital could not handle the load of patients. Beds in the hospital fell short of need and many patients were treated in the corridor of the hospital. The NCHR believes that precious lives of many injured, could have been saved if hospitals were better equipped with facilities to treat the patients being brought. Published in Daily Times, July 18th 2018.