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Pakistan: Fight for gaddi

By Zohra Yusuf

August 31 2014

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at an “exaggerated hassle over who should occupy the gaddi” leading to total neglect of the affairs of the state. It has called upon the government to focus on the real issues of the people and urged those seeking to pressurise the government through marching onIslamabad and other plans to realise the danger their actions have brought about for the country’s shaky democratic edifice.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission said: “As the drumbeat for the so-called Azadi march and other tactics aimed at mounting pressure on the government quickens, it is clear that none of the many parties to this spectacle is blameless. The government has made the mistake of not engaging with Imran Khan when he raised the question of rigging in four constituencies and instead of working out a political solution, they are seeking extra-political escape routes. The government has also made the mistake of treating Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri as major threats when its real threat comes from a failure or lack of interest in appropriately addressing people’s grievances related to lawlessness, targeted killing, sectarian violence, killing of human rights defenders and unemployment. The ground that Imran Khan is invoking for marching on Islamabad is not broadly acceptable and he has made the mistake of over-committing himself.

“Dr Qadri and Imran Khan are wrong in assuming that their tactics would not harm representative governance and the government is wrong in assuming that the people can be forced to fight for a non-functional democracy.

“There is a consensus that there was considerable mismanagement of the general elections but also that they were largely free of the official interference that had been witnessed in the past. In any case, complaints of malpractice have to be weighed against the respect democratic institutions must enjoy.

“The demand for early elections in democracy can be valid but it must rest on the government’s failure to deliver and the ability of the other party to present plausible alternatives. In Pakistan’s peculiar circumstances, we are still trying to establish the primary foundation of democracy and rocking it at this stage will only serve the interest of the extra-constitutional forces.

“The Commission feels very strongly about the exaggerated hassle over who should occupy the gaddi and over the affairs of the state being neglected week after week. The attention of the people and not just the rulers and their adversaries has been captivated by this drawn out spectacle – a huge loss of human resources and time.

“It is time that everyone returned to their posts and looked at the many pressing concerns of the citizenry, including internal displacement, armed conflict in the country, and the state of law and order and economy and tried to restorePakistan’s plunging reputation in the world.”

Originally published by HRCP

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