Call to defend people’s right to democratically elected govt | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Call to defend people’s right to democratically elected govt

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Executive Director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour and Education Research (Piler) Karamat Ali has said the ones who will lose amid the ongoing tussle between the “revolutionaries and the state are the people of Pakistan, who are being taken for a ride”.

Speaking at the Karachi Press Club during a hurriedly called press conference, he called civil society organisations to “defend the people’s right to a democratically elected government”.

Mr Ali said: “We don’t have an agenda nor are we being supported by a political party. This ongoing March and the way it is shaping up without a plan or a vision is alarming to say the least.

“We saw the previous government achieve a milestone by introducing constitutional reforms, empowering provinces etc. This government deserves its chance as well, as they have been elected by the people of Pakistan. But the manner in which Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri speak about an elected prime minister is really unfortunate and sad,” he said.

For recourse, he said, there were institutional arrangements such as the judicial commission where Imran Khan could file a complaint which they have, and which continues to be debated considering lack of follow-up by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. “If he has further issues with the process, he can speak in the parliament. Taking to the streets should be the last resort, considering the situation in the country with the ongoing military operation in Waziristan and a threat of a military coup,” the executive director of Piler said.

He said the manner in which Imran Khan’s speeches “take a turn every day, such as the recent call to storm the parliament, points towards a proper agenda or a strategy backed by those who want to keep the political future of democratically elected parties uncertain in Pakistan.”

About Pakistan Awami Tehrik’s Tahirul Qadri, he said: “We can’t speak much about a person who has never lived in Pakistan. He has never been part of the democratic process and yet he takes out a rally and demand reforms. He should first get elected to power.”

Mr Ali said there was need to look for a solution to the growing demands of the PTI. He explained that even Bangladesh reverted to its original system because their government model did not work out over there. “You can call it by any name, technocrat or whatever, but it is a silly solution to solve a multitude of problems facing Pakistan,” he said.

Amid all this political drama, he said, one must not forget the daily wage earners for whom a day’s strike could be financially catastrophic.

Academic and educationist Dr Riaz Sheikh said if the current “drama continued, we’ll have to ask daily wage earners to sit at the protest sites in Islamabad, as at least [this way] they’ll be given food and water three times a day.”

This statement brought the conversation back to Dr Qadri’s statement where he said the country could make use of the plenty of resources in Balochistan. “The fate of those resources cannot be decided in Lahore’s Model Town, rather by the people of the province (Balochistan),” Mr Ali pointed out.

The speakers argued that if the media and politicians were willing to give coverage and importance to the people who didn’t believe in the supremacy of the law and constitution, “then what’s the use of fighting militancy? Let’s give them [militants] a chance as well, as they don’t believe in the supremacy of law or accept the country’s constitution.”