Battleground High Court: hundreds upon hundreds of lawyers, young and old, men and women are dragged by their foreheads into dark and narrow police vans and no one knows where they are being taken. Court property is smashed, innocents are beaten up. On November the fifth, a false hope which had long bred inaction is killed, a nation is shocked to its senses. Someone up in the echelons of power is counting upon our silence but makes a fatal mistake and drags into the fight a force that should have been there all along: the students. Perhaps by another mistake, the students are allowed to leave battleground High Court.
We have been asked if we were there to observe as the country’s institutional foundations were set ablaze. Somehow, people manage to be surprised when we tell them that we were there to join the fight – the fight that lawyers and other civil society groups were, and still are, putting up for constitutional governance in Pakistan. More than two weeks down the lane, we are still fighting. We have rallied and protested, spoken and assembled countless times and in countless places. We have reached out to the halls of power, inside and outside this country. Above, all we are reaching out to the people. Let there be no mistake: we are not here to quit. No ruler should even count on our silence again. We cannot stay out of it any more because the nation has called. We will overthrow absolutist and arbitrary government and we will stay to safeguard democracy once we usher it in.
We do not fight at the behest of any political party or any political figure. We fight, just like the lawyers, as an independent, peaceful and organized group of citizens – the students. Our objectives are: the restoration of the constitution and the judiciary to what they were before November 3; release of martial law prisoners; revocation of curbs on the media; and revival of representative government by free and fair elections. These are rights that we are entitled to as humans and citizens. If we are denied these, we will not wait and observe, because half a century of waiting and observing by us and our parents has landed us nowhere. We will not beg for a ruler’s mercy because we, the people, are above that. We must fight until we get them. It is true that the re-emergence of students in politics is a complex phenomenon. But the bottom-line is that simple.
In this fight, we refuse to use or condone violence. Violence is the oppressors’ weapon; we shall win the hearts and minds. We stand on a higher moral ground and ultimately the moral force of our struggle will melt all that confronts it. We know who it is that we are up against. But there is no power on God’s earth greater than the power of the people, if they stand together.
As oppressors quiver, our loved ones’ hearts also quake. But in their heart of hearts they, and the whole nation, are proud of us. They know that the time has come for the youth to inherit the earth with all its bounties and all its struggles. We strive for constitutional and representative governance because it is worth our while and because we are convinced that somewhere, somehow, victory is just around the corner.
- Student Action Comittee at LUMS