Friday, February 22, 2008

Press Release From Justice (Retd.) Tariq Mahmood.21-02-2008

It is evident from Pakistan’s history that removal of any military dictatorship does not occur simply through a popular movement. Although the military dictatorship becomes weaker; it simply reappears with a new face. This time too, there was no indication that we would get rid of General Musharraf, until the 9th of March 2007.

But on the 9th of March, the lawyers saw and seized the opportunity to start a populist movement against the rule of Gen. Musharraf. The private media, civil society, students and political parties have played an integral and enthusiastic role in this movement. As a result of this movement, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and Mian Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan, which resulted in the military dictator being forced to hold General Elections.

Since the power of the ballot is one way to enable the citizenry to remove military dictatorship, hence the popular political parties decided to participate in the elections, while some decided to boycott the elections. And, unfortunately, that portion of the leadership of the Lawyers’ Movement, which was outside prisons or house-arrest, sided with those political forces in favour of a boycott of the General Elections.

Nevertheless, the General Elections took place, and the results in Sindh, Punjab and NWFP demonstrated the wishes of the people. However, since the popular political parties of Balochistan boycotted the elections, thus the results there are skewed. Nevertheless, the PPP was successful in Balochistan. In the NWFP the MMA won only the few seats it deserved.

In this scenario, I would request that the victorious parties should be given the opportunity to form the Government, so that they can start dealing with the problems facing Pakistan. These include the restoration of the Judiciary, but this problem must be solved with great care and deliberation. Military dictators have turned Pakistan into ”Masaailistan”. These problems cannot be magically solved instantaneously.

Thus, at this critical juncture, we should not take any step, which would bring the incoming political leadership under pressure and the invisible powers may take advantage of it, which would harm and set back our Movement, and might even necessitate the launch of a new movement.

At this time, there is a need that we should adopt attitudes and behaviour that will strengthen our institutions. We should not work for our personal interests. We all have made huge sacrifices for the larger interest of our country and for strengthening our institutions. We want a prosperous Pakistan for our children, where there will be equal rights for everyone and equal opportunities for everyone to develop according to their abilities. We should not expect any temporary personal benefit, in exchange for our sacrifices.

Through these election results the people of Pakistan have provided our leadership a golden opportunity to take Pakistan out of its problems. But to achieve this, we should cooperate with them and be patient. This is the start of a new and challenging era for Pakistan, in which our success will require us to be wise, sensible and patient.

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