Daily Times – PPP, civil society hold pro-democracy demonstrations

Daily Times – PPP, civil society hold pro-democracy demonstrations

Daily Times – January 13, 2012

LAHORE: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and civil society organisations on Thursday organised protest demonstrations in favour of the democratic system in Pakistan. They strongly opposed any unconstitutional move from any state institution as well as the “judicial activism” against the PPP-led government, keeping in view the geo-political and socio-economic situation in the country.

Civil society organisations held a protest demonstration at Liberty Chowk in which prominent activists of the Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), Civil Society Network Pakistan, Centre for Human Rights Education, Farooq-e-Aman o Roshan Khiali organisation and the Institute for Peace & Secular Studies. PPP parliamentarians and a large number of people from different walks of life also took part in the demonstration.

Prominent human rights activists and parliamentarians who joined the protest were IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Hina Jillani, Shah Taj Qazalbash, Anjum Rasheed, Abdullah Malik, PPP’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader in Punjab Assembly Shaukat Basra, MPA Azma Bukhari and Napoleon Qayyum. They chanted slogans in favour of democracy and praised the role of Asma Jahangir in protecting democracy and the supremacy of law in the courts.

They carried placards with slogans like ‘Judicial Activism not acceptable’, ‘Dictatorship of Judges not acceptable’, ‘No to Un-Democratic Forces’, ‘Long Live Democracy, ‘General’s Courts not acceptable’.

IA Rehman told reporters that democracy was the only roadmap for running the country, so all state institutions should follow the constitution in the larger interest of the country. Abdullah Malik said that the nation would not endorse any unconstitutional and undemocratic force in power, so the state institutions should give the democratic government the chance to end the crises facing Pakistan for the past ten years of dictatorship.

Shaukat Basra and Napoleon Qayyum said that the people who were busy preparing conspiracies against their party’s democratic government and wanted martial law in Pakistan should be aware that they would not succeed in their aims, as the masses have been awakened and the next martial law would only be enforced over his party workers’ dead bodies.

Separately, PPP Women Wing Punjab and Lahore chapters’ leadership also held a protest demonstration in favour of the stability of democracy in the country, terming the democratic system as the only way to bring the nation out of the current economic and geo-political crisis. They voiced their full support to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

PPP Punjab Women Wing President Tasneem Chaudhry and Lahore Chapter Women Wing President MPA Faiza Malik were leading the demonstration and demanded all state institutions including the army and judiciary to follow the constitution to strengthen democracy in Pakistan. The protesters, including MPA Najmi Saleemi, Bushra Malik and Surayya Bhatti were carrying banners in favour of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani and chanted slogans against certain state institutions.

Faiza Malik, while addressing workers, said that her party had already faced several crisis and conspiracies against its governments in the past, but they would not step back from their principle stances in the larger interest of democracy and the country. Najmi Saleemi showed full confidence in the party leadership, and said that all the party workers were united under the leadership of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.