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We Are Alarmed About Any Prospect Of Implosion Of The State And Society: Civil Society

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Members from various walks of life in Pakistan including writers, journalists, lawyers, civil society activists and Democrats from across various shades of opinion are alarmed about any prospect of the implosion of the state and society.

The development comes in as press censorship seems rampant in the Pakistani print and broadcast media. According to the press release carried out by said members from various occupations, civil society members endorsed a declaration For Peoples’ Rights, Democratic Supremacy and Social Security.

The press release stated concerns regarding several matters at hand including debt bondage with international monetary institutions.

“Pakistan is now faced with a colossal crisis and a dependent and fragile economic base can no more take the burden of a national security state. The crises have become unmanageable due to repeated undemocratic interventions and a lack of consistent sustainable policies.”

The press release noted that despite flaws and shortcomings of the past democratic governments, the decade-old ‘democratic transition’ is being gradually reversed through an illegitimate creeping coup.

The said coup seems to be in favor of a de facto authoritarian power-structure which is being overwhelmingly dictated by autocratic forces behind the façade of a sham populist regime with fascist inclinations.

The declaration in the press release reiterated the pro-democratic stance that there is no alternative to the supremacy of the parliament and the constitution in particular. When it comes to preserving the constitution, it implies a truly representative government serving the downtrodden in Pakistan.

While commenting upon press censorship the declaration referred to press gags in question.

All kinds of media have been gaged and being overtly censored by the powers that be, social media activists are being kidnapped or ostracised, freedom of speech is being suppressed under the inverse pretext of so-called hybrid warfare; peoples’ peaceful rights’ and internally displaced peoples movements, such as PTM and others, movement for missing persons, media rights bodies, lawyers bodies, independent journalists and trade unions, etc..

It further reflected upon the arrest of opposition leaders by the National Accountability Bureau and other government authorities. The declaration highlighted prevalent problems which are quite sensitive in nature including the amalgamation of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The said transition is problematic as noted by the declaration hence all government bodies need to look after the People of FATA which have already been through the worse due to the conflict in the region.

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“The trichotomy of power and separation of legislative, judicial and executive arms of the state have to be observed with a sovereign parliament without any encroachment by any institution in the domain of other institutions. All unconstitutional incursions by the state institutions, such as by the security institutions into the matters other than security and unrestrained judicial ‘activism’ that undermines legitimate governance, must be stopped forthwith.”, it added.

The declaration called for suppression of freedom of expression, due process of law, impunity of state institutions in the cases of missing persons, ban on students’ unions, restrictions on trade unions and professional associations, blatant censorship of media, all kinds of discriminations against women and minorities and use of violence by the state and non-state actors against peaceful citizens must come to an end.

It further demanded a political solution to the conflict in Baluchistan. According to the declaration, the solution is most warranted by imitating a dialogue with the alienated Baluch elements in the interest of the people and the province to alleviate the sufferings of Baluch people and preempt any foreign meddling.

While presenting a road map for the times to come, the declaration noted the required transition Pakistan needs to undergo as a state.

 A paradigm shift is required from a traditional national security state to a broader, inclusive and holistic vision of human security and development which serves the interests of its people, by providing them a good quality of life. A modern republic which is at peace with its people and with its neighbors on the basis of equality, dignity and peaceful resolution.

The said declaration was endorsed by political representatives including Senator Hasil Bizanjo (NP), Senator Raza Rabbani (PPP), MNA Ahsan Iqbal, Gen. Sec. PML-N, Farhatullah Babar, Gen Sec PPP-P, Senator Pervaiz Rashied (PMLN), Dr Maalick President NP, Mian Iftikhar Hussain Gen Sec ANP, Yousuf Masti Khan Pr. AWP, Afrasayab Khatak, politician, Lashkari Raisani, BNP, Ayub, NP, Dr Laal Khan, Farooq Tariq Lahore Left Front and other noted political leaders along with Journalists, human rights activists, trade unions and members of the civil society.

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