Thursday, November 29, 2007

Student Action Committee Lahore urges boycott of elections

The following is a letter from the Student Action Committee Lahore to the country’s political parties on participation in the upcoming elections:

To the leadership of the APDM, PML-N, PPP and PTI,

The students of over 15 universities and institutes of Lahore have united to form the Student Action Committee, Lahore. We are also collaborating with the Student Action Committees of Islamabad and Peshawar. Together, we call to you at a time when the nation is required to unite. The institutions of the state have been maligned again and we, the students, have united to oppose their blatant subversion. In the absence of organized structures, it has taken us a while to unite, but united we stand to ensure that our country has a future. Our voices were raised and, then, attempted to be muffled from the first day following the emergency but we have remained steadfast in the face of mounting pressures and we request you to do the same.

Collectively, we have demanded the lifting of Martial Law, the reinstatement of the judiciary, the restoration of the constitution, the freedom of the media and the release of protest prisoners before we can even consider the upcoming election to be free and fair. Therefore, we have collectively agreed that unless the aforementioned are undertaken, we shall advocate a complete boycott of the elections and attempt to mount a movement for the fulfillment of this struggle.

This letter is a call to you with a single agenda – a boycott of the scheduled elections – for we must lend no legitimacy to any course that the present executive takes to justify the imposition of martial law against the judiciary and the citizenry of
Pakistan. Therefore, in this appeal to your party leadership, we call upon you to stand by your own manifest cause – the restoration of democratic rule to Pakistan.

What is vital today is that we stand together for the judiciary, who had begun to take the first steps to uphold our constitution. The restoration of the judiciary to its position as of
the 2nd of November 2007 must be a pre-condition before extending any degree of participation in the electoral process. These elections are a slight to democracy and all its advocates.

Therefore, we make this call to your alliance to stand steadfast for once: for we have oft seen you waver since your creation. We need our political leaders to stand together for the cause that they have oft championed. If you do stand steadfast and withdraw from the upcoming mockery (the elections) then we do promise that we will do our utmost to stand by you in protest and, perhaps, even, stand ahead of you for this country, in our united struggle for the institution of true democracy in the country.

Our task is simple and needs no elaboration: the restoration of people’s rule to the citizens of
Pakistan. If, indeed, you be ready to stand by the people of this nation, then, we shall commend you and respect you and struggle alongside you for the sake of our future. However, if you too give in to the imperatives of short term power then unfortunately, you too shall stand as an affront to our cause.

We, the humble students of the universities and institutions of
Lahore, hereby, call upon you to boycott the upcoming election as candidates and as political parties. We shall call upon the people to do so in our capacity as (inshallah) the next generation of Pakistan. We hope that in doing so we can collectively mount a campaign that may change the currently teetering course of our nation.

In anticipation of principles,

The Student Action Committee, Lahore


Anonymous said...

here's the deal...these elections are going to be a farce because the regime will blatantly rig them...however if you boycott elections, the regime no longer needs to rig them....their candidates sail through and you don't have the moral high ground of accusing the regime of rigging....if by boycotting the polls you expect the international community to abandon the regime, then you are living in a fantasy world...they couldn't care less...otherwise you think the opposition can boycott the polls and trigger widespread agitation, then your premise can be many of us LUMS people are willing to come out on the streets and face a baton charge....i guess before the high and mighty call for a boycott, we might want to be a bit more introspective and ask ourselves that would even a quarter of our student body are willing to go the lawyers route...else it's just blowing a lot of hot air

Anonymous said...

Boycott is not enough.

PMLN, PTI and alwyers should give a call for a long march to Islamabad to free the judges.

Z said...

Doesn't matter about LUMS. Now we have a 15-uni body consensus! Inshallah we will have NUMBERS :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the long march comment. It's time.

Anonymous said...

If we are really serious in opposing the regime, we should be ready to get baton charged and even arrested by Police. Any takers?

(Personally I am ready for that and I will be attending the protest rally announced by STUDENTS ACTION COMMITTEE (Lahore) tomorrow at 2pm)
My friends from 'FASTRising' will also be attending the protest

Anonymous said...

U know that ISI, CNN, BBC, and CIA peiple monitor you website!

N. H. said...

everyone will agree that boycotting the elections is not enough. They wont care neither will the international community. We suggest.....enter the elections..and select the person of your choice. Infiltrate!

Anonymous said...

With reference to the interview of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi yesterday in Karachi I think it does not serve a purpose to boycott the elections. What does make sense is to boycott the Parlimentary vote that will be held to keep the president in power. Boycotting elections could be in the favor of newer parties e.g. PTI but not for established parties like PML-N who will have otherwise developed a power vaccum in their constituncies (sp).

Anonymous said...

The students have spoken, and they are true and not tainted by the power game. It is a fact that the parties will go ahead anyway, but the action to ask them to boycott from a united front is commendable.
Student Committee, you do us proud.

Anonymous said...

RE: the first comment- it is ridiclious for some one to not boycott elections inorder to "have the moral high ground of accusing the regime of rigging"- the reasonf ro boycotting elctions is pretty simple: any form of govrenmnet formed even , where Imran Khan becaoems the PM through farce elections will not have legitmicay from the people- it will only have legtcimacy from mushararf, army and the does not even matter that much who rules our country at this time ( apart from US interests ).. what matters is sow the seeds of a new inistutional set up where by people are in charge and not "outsiders".. and hence the neccessity to boyott elections....

Anonymous said...

boycotting the elections would speak out louder to the world than anything else that the people of pakistan do not support the present regime and that it has no credibilty among the people. it may be a small step but one which will lead towards bigger ones.we need to ensure that the people of pakistan take charge of this country and not any mailitary or puppet personnels.

Suhail Kureishi, Germany said...

It is important that this students movement should be spread accross Pakistan, the future of Pakistan has to be decided by the Students not by the corrupt politicians. I Pray and hope that this movement will not be hijacked by establishmeent or any political party.

Boycotting the election is the need of the time unless true Judiciary is not re-instated back on their posts. I salute the brave students for this effort.

Anonymous said...

Re: To boycot or not to boycot. The only argument in favour of not boycotting the elections is that people elected will have a role to play in the parliament while rectifying Busharraf's misdeeds. This is clearly based on presumptions, as by that time the hype we have been creating will die out and those few who will reach the parliament will make less than 10%. On the other hand the boycot will definitely jeopardize legitimacy of elections. Let them "select" a parliament through rigged elections. It won't be able to work for more than a few months. Please try to understand that Nation will certainly outlive Busharraf. Bless you all!