Call for strong democratic institutions -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Call for strong democratic institutions

KARACHI – Politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, government representatives and journalists at a seminar called for strengthening democratic institutions and civil society by shunning all sort of differences to restore peace and harmony in Karachi.

Conspiracies are being hatched against Karachi to distort its image. People of Karachi should remain united to foil the nefarious designs of those elements, which were behind the recent tragic incidents.

These views were expressed at the seminar on “Restoration of peace in Karachi and role of administration” was organized by the Karachi Press Club in collaboration with the Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights at the KPC on June 5.

The chief minister’s adviser on home affairs, Aftab Ahmed Sheikh; Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khouro; Aurat Foundation’s chairman, Anis Haroon; PPP leader Iqbal Hyder; columnist M.B. Naqvi, author Fahmida Riaz, former president of KPC, Sabihuddin Ghousi; journalist Mazhar Abbas and others spoke.

Defending city police, Aftab Sheikh conceded that there was no doubt that the city had been a victim of lawlessness due to recent terrorism acts, which were not only being discussed locally but also debated on international forums. However, he said that police having meagre resources with additional responsibility of protecting mosques, Imambargahs, foreign missions, and other key-installations had gained remarkable achievements in recent months by recovering explosives and nabbing terrorists.

“In addition to policing, the police have to perform many other duties. Particularly after the 9/11 incidents, the role of this department has increased manifolds,” he observed.

He said that recent tragic incidents would directly affect investment in the country, which would lead to further unemployment, suicide incidents and other tragedies.

Anis Haroon said that after the recent terrorist acts no citizen was feeling secure. “The conditions went to this extent that mosques and Imambargah, which were earlier believed to be secure, are not spared,” she added.

Saying that the present deteriorated situation is a result of suppression of democratic forces in the country, she stressed that democratic forces should be allowed to play their due role.

She suggested that peace committees should be formed at mohalla level with greater participation of community people to keep check on suspicious activities in their respective areas.

PPP leader Iqabl Hyder said that the government had failed to maintain law and order. He criticized that even after such terrorist attacks in recent days, no person from top to bottom was made accountable.

“No concrete preventive measure was taken, besides, the government did not fulfil its pledge to provide financial assistance to the victims of these incidents,” he said adding that not a single penny has been received by those injured or heirs of those who expired in these incidents.

He said, “Revival of democracy is not less than a revolution that seems impossible in present military rule.” He said that the dream of a genuine democracy in the country would remain unachievable as long as military continued to interfere in civil matters.

Former president of Karachi Press Club, Sabihuddin Ghousi, was very critical of political parties’ role in the country. “Why do political parties declare each other terrorists?” he questioned and said that rivals of the past were not sitting together just for political gains.

He held political parties responsible for deprivation of people, as they never played their part to address genuine problems of a common man.

Nisar Ahmed Khouro severely criticized the government for its inability to handle law and order situation despite the presence of large contingents of law enforcement agencies.

“Rs12 billion and Rs11 billion are earmarked every year in the budget of Sindh for development works and law and order respectively with allocation of additional funds, if needed, but the performance of LEAs in maintaining peace is not utpo the mark,” he added.

Regarding the recent bomb blasts and other tragic incidents, he opined that all religious parties were united on the platform of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and there was no involvement of them in these incidents. “Some other hands are behind these heinous acts in Karachi,” he added.

He praised the idea of establishing mohalla peace committees and assured his full support in this regard for ensuring peace and harmony in Karachi.
Source: Dawn
Date:6/6/2004