Call for army’s intervention mischievous and inappropriate: HRCP

Lahore, August 23: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has slammed as entirely inappropriate and mischievous the demand by the head of a political party for the military to “take any martial law-type action against corrupt politicians and feudals”.

In a press statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “It is a poor reflection on the nation’s adherence to democratic norms when one of the main political parties starts pleading not with parliament, or with the people, but with ‘patriotic army generals’ to act against politicians.

There may be many complaints against politicians and the democratically elected government of Pakistan. Some of them may be justified as well. But there are also many ways of dealing with these complaints, and a return to military rule is certainly not one of them. Matters can be raised in parliament and dealt with in a democratic manner. One fails to see the hurdle in following such a course when the party in question is part of the ruling coalition in Sindh and at the Centre.

Experience has demonstrated beyond any doubt that army takeovers were rationalized on the pretext of eliminating corruption but they only aggravated the state of affairs.

As for the need to demolish the bastions of federalism, the feudals survived long periods of military-backed dictatorships and a fresh dose of this medicine is unlikely to affect their health. Pakistan will be able to rid the curse of feudalism only when the people’s genuine representatives can democratically come into power.

Not that there ever would be a good time to make demands like that, but they are all the more mischievous, unwelcome and entirely inappropriate at a time when the country is devastated by its worst natural disaster in living memory. The army should indeed be complimented on playing an active role in flood relief as much as any individual or organization should be for doing their job.

The ‘chequered history’ of Pakistan that the respected politician refers to is chequered in no small part because of the military rulers’ constantly denying the mandate of the people. The change that ‘Pakistan desperately needed’ is not from civilian rule to martial law but for persistence with democratic governance. Pakistan simply cannot afford another hiatus in the democratic process.”

 
Dr Mehdi Hasan
Chairperson

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