=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 8: Writers, intellectuals, civil so
ISLAMABAD, Jan 8: Writers, intellectuals, civil society and human rights activists at a literary reference here on Tuesday showered tributes on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The literary reference was organised jointly by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Strengthening Participatory Organizations (SPO) in memory of the slain PPP leader and to pay homage to her struggle for democracy and sacrifices she and her family made for democracy and rule of law.
The heavy downpour failed to stop people from coming in large numbers. Among them were poets, students, teachers and civil society activists. The participants sat on the floor beneath a large photograph of Ms Bhutto who was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Liaqat Bagh on December 27.
Inaugurating the session, Dr Abid Sulehri stated that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was an attack on the already weak democratic polity of Pakistan.
“To condemn this gruesome act of violence you do not have to be a PPP supporter. A vast majority of citizens have expressed their grief and shock on this incident”, poet and civil society activist Harris Khalique said.
Dr Sulehri and Harris stressed the need for disengagement of army from politics, curbing extremism and ensuring the realisation of civil, political, economic and social rights of citizens.
Harris Khalique presented his poem:
Jo sab kehte rahe yunhi woh hum kerke dikhatey hain
Chalo iss baar uss ke ishq mein marke dikhatey hain
Hum apni jaan ko uss jaan-i-jaan pe vaar dete hain
Watan ke khakdan ko khoon se bhar ke dikhatey hain
Humaari ik ik laghzish bahee khatey mein likhhi hay
Lahoo sey qarz-i-bai qeemat ada karke dikahtey hain
Ye naaray hain, nahein faryaad ya aah-o-buka hargiz
Falak tak jab pohonch jaein asar karke dikhatey hain.
Addressing the gathering, poet Iftikhar Arif, who presided over the meeting said, Benazir Bhutto was a symbol of the federation, a symbol of Pakistan at the international level and at home, hope for the vulnerable and the weak.
He recited his popular poem kab tamasha khatm hoga and concluded his homage with his ghazal Dua.
Sharing his memories of the slain leader, former ambassador B.A. Malik said Benazir was not dead but had achieved immortality. Her assassination was a continuation of the process that started with the killing of Liaquat Ali Khan followed by the assassination of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and other Left-wing political activists like Hassan Nasir and Nazir Abbasi who struggled for democracy and dignity of the people of Pakistan.
Mr Malik demanded a UN investigation in the assassination case. He also asked military to remain out of politics and demanded restoration of democracy in the country through free, fair and transparent elections.
He also condemned the calculated disinformation campaign of the government, by which it wanted to distort the facts and to mislead the nation.
Ms Gohar Jamal said no ideology could succeed without sacrifices and Bhutto family had given historic sacrifices for the democracy and people of Pakistan which could never be forgotten. These sacrifices gave us hope and courage to stand in the way of tyrants, she added.
Several other participants including, Ahmed Saleem, Aliya Mirza, Naeem Mirza, Khadim Soomro, Amjad Nazeer, Arshad Bhatti, Tauqir Chughtai, Bilal Naqeeb and Pashtu poets Ali Akbar Sial and Ibrar Mohammad Khan paid tributes to the courage and sacrifices of Bhutto family. They presented their own poems as well as works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib, Munir Niazi, Akhtar Hussain Jafri and Anton Chekhov.
They urged the intelligentsia, writers, artistes and opinion makers to make deeper analysis of the problems faced by Pakistan.
Nageen Hayat, Director Nomad Art Gallery, on behalf of Women Action Forum and Insaani Haqooq Ittehad, read a declaration condemning Benazir’s assassination and demanded high level investigation and restoration of democracy in the country through fair and transparent elections.