Pakistani dissidents say change of policies must come with govt change


Prominent Pakistani dissidents conditionally welcomed the change in Pakistan’s government while calling upon the new government to overturn the antidemocratic policies of the outgoing regime. In a statement, South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), a grouping of prodemocracy Pakistanis, expressed relief that the Constitution has been upheld in Pakistan.

But voiced the hope that the incoming government will ensure the granting of all Pakistani peoples’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution. SAATH noted with optimism Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s remark that “No Pakistani is a traitor” because of his or her views and said that this was in marked contrast with Imran Khan’s tendency to divide the Pakistani people by describing all those who disagreed with him and the establishment as ‘traitors’ to Pakistan. SAATH called for the release of all political prisoners, including Pashtun member of parliament Ali Wazir.

“The new government should ensure that the black practice of disappearing people ends,” the SAATH statement said, adding, “Those who have been subject to enforced disappearances should be accounted for, and anyone guilty of a crime should be subject only to due process of the law in open, Civilian courts.” SAATH said that “It is imperative that the media, both print and electronic, is freed from the chokehold it has endured for the last four years.”

“The reservations of the Baloch people and other nationalities about Pakistan’s central authorities must be addressed and they must become the main beneficiaries of any development in their traditional homeland,” the statement added. SAATH FORUM

According to the SAATH statement, “The ugly noises against our Security Agencies and their Chiefs now being heard loud and clear on the streets and in the media should make clear to all of Pakistan’s stakeholders, and Institutions that it does no good to engineer politics.”

“In the end, a Frankenstein’s monster remains a monster that will inevitably turn on its own creator. The people’s will and the people’s will alone, should endure,” SAATH declared.

Prominent members of SAATH include former Senator Afrasiab Khattak, Member of Parliament Mohsin Dawar, former Ambassadors Husain Haqqani and Kamran Shafi, former editor of Daily Times Rashed Rahman, columnist Dr. Mohammed Taqi, journalists Taha Siddiqui, Gul Bukhari, and Marvi Sirmed, and activists Gulalai Ismail, Tahira Jabeen, Shahzad Irfan, and Farhan Kaghzi.


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