Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore was the site of an event of historic importance on the 23rd of December. On that day Lahore looked like an awakening giant with massive public gathering in the streets. Millions of people, from all walks of life, attended the public rally organized by Pakistan Awami Tehreek. Journalists, analysts and intellectuals are calling this as the largest public gathering in Lahore in recent times. The return and reception of Tahir ul Qadri on 23rd December was very well publicized by the media as well as by word of mouth. But still the overwhelming response was surprisingly unexpected. This was not only a show of “ zinda dilaaan-e-Lahore “ but a clear indicator that “Jaag gaya hai Punjab”.
Political analysts say that Karachi is the catalyst of any political change in Pakistan but now Lahore also has stood up as per the expectations of the common Pakistani. For the first time, Karachi and Lahore are on the same page for change in Pakistan. This people’s desire for change is not against any government, or political party, or establishment but rather a desire to change the entire system — a system which is the root cause of all short and long term problems in the country. You name the problem and our present system directly or in directly support it.
Corruption, incompetent governance, feudalism, poverty, illiteracy, religious extremism and terrorism are all linked to our failed political system, which has existed for the last 65 years. MQM, the representative party of Karachi has been vocal against the corrupt political system and now Tahir ul Qadri’s PAT came into the lime light with the same kind of slogans from Data ki Nagri, Lahore. 180 million people of Pakistan are deprived of basic necessities like food, education, health facilities and on the other hand shortage of power and gas are forcing the industrialists to move their business outside Pakistan. Our economic indicators support the claims of World Bank and IMF that our economy is sinking like the Titanic into the Arabian Sea.
We should ask this question: is the system we are supporting, for last six decades, a true Democracy or Feudocracy? If this is a democracy then why has it failed to deliver? And if this is a feudocracy run by the feudal lords of Pakistan then why has it been disguised as a Democracy? The Media groups in Pakistan should have played a more active role in educating Pakistanis about the prevailing corrupt political system. Our respectable judiciary should have stood up to abolish the feudal system from Pakistan.
Pakistani nation cannot forget the shameful episode in our political history when our Parliamentarians were caught with fake college degrees. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, on different occasions, heard the cases of corruption by our feudal class politicians on issues like PIA, Rental Power Projects, Steel Mill and Hajj corruption case. How did these politicians get elected when they were sentenced on corruption charges by the superior courts of Pakistan? Does our constitution have any ambiguity or lacuna regarding the character of an individual willing to participate in general elections? Articles 62 & 63 of our constitution state that only a person of good, righteous and honest character can take part in elections. These contestants should not be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence.
The question arises that what steps were taken by the election commission to implement Articles 62 & 63 at the time of scrutiny of nomination papers? How candidates with a history of corruption, bad character, no moral values and fake degrees were able to pass the criteria of these two important clauses?
When the institutions of a country fail to take corrective action then a show-of-power on the streets become imminent. The demonstrations and peaceful protests force the people in power to take notice and bring about changes in the system according to the will and wish of the public. We have seen these kinds of reforms during the revolutionary wave of the Arab Spring.
Now it seems that change is coming to Pakistan. The supporters of true democracy are forming a united front with Tahir ul Qadri and Altaf Hussain leading the convoy of change. PAT’s chief Tahir ul Qadri has given the government three weeks to take all stake holders including Armed forces and Judiciary on board and form an interim government. This interim government will then make the electoral process reforms according to the constitution of Pakistan. The purpose of these reforms is to bring about a corruption free political system and governance. If the sitting government does not meet these demands then Tahir ul Qadri will hold a long march on 14th January towards Islamabad. MQM chief Mr. Altaf Hussain has fully supported this cause and urged his workers and supporters to get ready for this long march.
The status quo forces will most probably oppose these demands and long march by pushing for elections on time. We all agree that elections should be held on time but this exercise will bring positive changes for the poor and middle class Pakistanis otherwise the 2013 elections will give more strength to feudocracy.
If Pakistan has to move in the right direction then, as a nation, we have to abolish the feudocracy and introduce true democracy. Democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people. When the people come on the streets with genuine demands then the Army and the Judiciary has no other option but to support the voice of the nation. 14th January is the day to revolution!