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Pakistan called to ensure comprehensive vote

April 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

PARIS, April 30 (UPI) -- Pakistani authorities are called on to ensure all members of society can take part in parliamentary elections safely, human rights organizations said.

Pakistan is to have parliamentary elections May 11. The political climate has been overshadowed by a rise in attacks blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, which described the election process as "un-Islamic."

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French initials FIDH, issued a statement with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan saying authorities need to do more to protect the political rights of all citizens.

"The last few years have been characterized by a spike in incidents of violence and intolerance against ethnic and religious minorities across Pakistan," their statement read. "This trend aligned with the failure on the part of authorities to protect vulnerable groups."

The statement was part of a six-page list of recommendations offered to the interim government as it prepares for May elections. Human Rights Watch this week relayed similar concerns, saying a military role may be needed to ensure security during the election.

FIDH and the HRCP said at least 89 people in Pakistan died as a result of religious violence last month. Human Rights Watch blamed the Taliban and other militant groups in Pakistan for more than 20 attacks that left 46 people dead and more than 190 injured since campaigning began April 21.

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