Press Release, August 8
Lahore: Commenting on their Thursday’s decisions, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the members of the ruling coalition to redeem all their pledges to establish democracy and supremacy of parliament, restore judges and the independence of the judiciary, and secure the people’s release from grinding poverty and unemployment, with the seriousness that their obligation demands. In a statement issued here today HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir said:
On Thursday the leaders of the coalition parties stopped their gyrations and chose to move in a direction the people can recognize and understand. It was time they did so and arrested the process of the citizens’ frustration at lack of the new government’s interest in honouring the electorate’s unmistakable verdict of February 18. They will be forgiven their dithering over several precious months if they redeem their pledges with the seriousness and the sense of urgency their responsibilities demand. These pledges are: a complete break from authoritarianism, transition to democratic governance and establishment of the supremacy of parliament; restoration of judges and independence of the judiciary; and a concerted campaign to alleviate the socio-economic plight of the people, especially to secure their release from grinding poverty, unemployment and the various forms of denial of their basic rights and freedoms. For the citizens elections and change of regime are not meant to provide only for the advancement of a few, nor are they matters for academic quibbling or rhetorical flourishes, these are merely mile posts on their journey towards freedom, security and prosperity. The coalition leaders’ earnestness in resolutely pursuing the course they have chosen alone will guarantee them the public support without which the state cannot achieve anything. Besides, no political arrangement can survive by adding fresh pledges to older, unfulfilled commitments. The conseques of allowing the latest resolution to meet a fate similar to that of the Charter of Democracy or the Murree Declaration will be too dreadful to be imagined.