Peaceful protest and current political turmoil: A judicious appraisal
THE Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all institutions derive their powers from this document. The government shall formulate policies and exercise powers for the welfare of its citizens; while the citizens shall perform their constitutional duty and shall observe law of the land and shall avoid encroaching on the rights of other fellow-beings. The Constitution of Pakistan ordains the ‘loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law’, ‘Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law, etc.’; ‘security of person’; ‘the inviolable dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home’ and movement of every citizen from one place to another subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest’ respectively. It also guarantees the right to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of public order’; and right to freedom of speech and expression; and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan, etc.
In the current scenario, the political members of a particular party are on violent protest and have created internal disturbance and anarchy in the nook and corner of the country; and have paralyzed daily life of a common man. The damage of public and private property and threat to life of any non-combatants are disallowed even during Jihad. Such violent demonstrations have no legal, moral, constitutional, political and religious footings. This violent protest bulldozed the sacrifices of defence forces which is highly pathetic and deplorable.
The violent protestors targeted the military installations and property. Despite that, the military leadership and Jawans demonstrated extreme degree of moral and professional responsibility by observing absolute patience and restraint while the mob raided military property and check posts. It shows that military leadership owns these people as their brothers.
No doubt, Article 245 of 1973 Constitution empowers the Federal Government to call defence forces to help the civil administration in case of any external or foreign aggression or threat of war. In the present scenario, there is no such foreign aggression but internal disturbances. Federal and provincial governments should avoid involving the military in the current scenario; and to bring defence forces in eye-ball-to-eye-ball contact with their own brothers and sisters. The civil governments must handle the crisis politically, legally, constitutionally and democratically. This will also ensure civilian government’s supremacy. The damage done to property and loss of life of any citizen and any personnel of law enforcing agencies is a national loss; and such violent protest is not the panacea of political crisis.
Local and national PTI leadership must show generosity and must play a responsible role as citizens of Pakistan keeping in view the Constitution of Pakistan and laws of the land. What message does the PTI leadership and workers give to the orphans and widows of martyrs of defence forces?
Political issues have political solutions. All the political parties must come up with a political mindset and political solutions for the current scenario. Politics of victimization, of revenge, of torture, and of character assassination must be shunned. All political parties must come forward for political dialogue to bring out Pakistan of political and economic turmoil and to provide relief to their electors.
—The writer is Chairman, Department of Political Science, Islamia College Peshawar.
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