ISLAMABAD: Mainstream political parties said to represent the right-wing vote in the country opted to either stay aloof, or extremely guarded, in their reaction to the murder of minister for minorities’ affairs Shahbaz Bhatti.
Not only the religiously-inclined, but some mainstream political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid did not issue even a cosmetic statement to condemn the murder.
The Express Tribune contacted the parties individually to extract a reaction but had to wait till late night for one.
Ordinarily, the proactive media wings of these parties flood the journalists’ email accounts with their statements on all and sundry. Parties’ media offices also routinely pester reporters, requesting them to accommodate the statements of their leaders in their papers.
Interestingly, nothing of this sort happened on Wednesday after Bhatti’s cold blooded murder apparently for opposing the controversial blasphemy laws.
While the top tier leadership of mainstream and right-wing political parties remained quiet, or vague and guarded, their spokespersons attempted to cloak the condemnation under their party’s usual rhetoric. Only the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the Awami National Party and other smaller groups openly condemned the assassination.
Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf was an exception among the right-wing inclined parties that issued an official statement.
The Jaamat-e-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl did not issue any statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2011.
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