Dharna politics: Role of Parliament and Judiciary

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Dr Muhammad Khan

WHEREAS the peaceful protest is the right of every citizen of Pakistan, creating disturbance in the routine life of the masses is a serious crime to be dealt as per law of the land. The Dharna of JUI (F) has created an uncomfortable situation for the people of Islamabad. Since evening of 30 October 2019, the main highway of the capital, the Kashmir Highway, is blocked by the Dharna people, creating serious traffic jams for those passing through it and whose livelihood is connected with that. The international law and law of the land prohibits obstruction of a highway or other public passage. A person or a group commits the offence of obstructing a highway or other public passage has to be dealt severely. It is serious crime in the teaching of Islam. Obstructing a highway or other public passage is a Class C misdemeanour. The Dharna of JUI (F) has a sizeable number of Madrassa students, owned and run by the party leadership. In a way the students and teachers of the Madaris have been forced to travel all the way from Balochistan and KP to Islamabad. This a serious crime of diverting the students and teachers of Madaris from their primary objectives. Using this class for the political gains of a political or religio-political party is against the spirit of fundamental rights of the citizens and a severe violation of the principles of Islam and the constitution of Pakistan. In a way, these students and teachers of the Madaris are being treated a slave and hostage.
Chapter-I of the Constitution of Pakistan deals with the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. Para 11 of this chapter clearly prohibits, slavery and forced labour. Slavery is non-existent and forbidden and no law shall permit or facilitate its introduction into Pakistan in any form. All forms of forced labour and traffic in human beings are prohibited. Moreover, no child below the age of fourteen years shall be engaged in any hazardous role and Dharna is quite hazardous. Participation of juveniles for the political gains of an individual or a group is a serious violation of their fundamental rights. There are reports that thousands of Afghan nationals, living as migrants or otherwise in KP and Balochistan provinces are part of JUI (F) Dharna. These jobless people needed bread and living, which is being provided by the Dharna Administration. Making use of helpless Afghan migrants and poor unemployed people is a moral and religious crime besides its prohibition in law of the land.
The Dharna politics is indeed a great threat for the democracy of Pakistan. In democracy, the decisions are taken democratically in the parliament after debates on various issues. If there was a wrong precedence set earlier for the political gains of a political party, it should not be followed. The party head of the JUI (F) tried his best to drag the institutions towards his political end. This is highly immoral and below the dignity of a dignified person to put at stakes the state and its institutions for his own political gains. The people of Pakistan have rejected such nefarious designs of slandering the institutions. The failure on the part of Pakistani politicians is that, they have been involved in a negative politics for their personal gains, rather strengthening the state and empowering the people of Pakistan. In Parliament there have been no debates about the future strategy of the state, its security issues, its foreign policy formulation, its falling economy and above all, how to educate and create jobs for the youth of Pakistan. The unemployed youth of Pakistan is either used by these political and religio-political parties for their political aims as daily wagers.
It is high-time that Parliament of Pakistan should realize its responsibilities towards the state and its 210 million population. Let’s make such laws which protect the basic and fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. Let’s stop playing politics at public places and on highways, which restrict the movement of masses, patients, students and the working class. Laws are needed which prohibit the political and religio-political parties to use the juveniles for their political gains. Furthermore, the foreign national must not form part of any political or religio-political protest or gathering in any part of Pakistan. Since political parties and religio-political parties are part of the problem, therefore, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and respective high courts must issue orders prohibiting participation of teenagers and foreign nationals into all political gatherings of political parties. Besides, the political parties found involved in such heinous crimes like forcing the juveniles into their politically motivated activities must be penalized. Political decisions must be made in Parliament of Pakistan, rather on roads and highways.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.