Journalists, civil society urge tolerance for democracy

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ISLAMABAD: All segments of society including journalists and members of civil society organisations on Saturday underlined the fact that if the military dictatorships could be endured for eight to 11 long years then why some segments are not ready to give some time to democracy that can keep working its magic if people have even a little faith and hope in it during this critical phase of political history.

They expressed these views at the pro-democracy camp set up by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in coordination with National Press Club (NPC), Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and civil society organisations to highlight the importance of democracy and urge the political parties to avoid politics of agitation and use the forum of the Parliament to address their grievances.

The NPC president Shaharyar Khan said the marchers should show political maturity and behave like responsible politicians instead of creating law and order situation in the country that is already facing financial crunch and people are facing number of problems due to limited financial resources.

“Everyone in Pakistan is patriotic and wants to see the country move forward but if there is any kind of difference of opinion then it does not mean that one should ignore all democratic norms and start using agitation and confrontation as a tool to achieve the set political targets,” he said.

The RIUJ secretary general Bilal Dar said the marchers never trust democracy and Constitution but they should keep in mind that dictatorship always pushed the country into troubled waters and rising terrorism, spread of weapons and drugs smuggling.

Prominent human rights activist Farzana Bari said it is good to see that the Pakistan Army did not play any kind of role in this crisis on its own and the media statement issued by ISPR clearly showed that the government itself asked for the role of a facilitator and it was also not the wish of the Army to hold meetings with Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri.“These two leaders wanted the establishment to bring them to power but it would not happen and all their nefarious designs would be foiled by the people of Pakistan,” she said.

Social worker Alya Mirza said when the news of imposition of martial law by Ziaul Haq was published in newspapers then many readers started weeping and cursed it so they never want it again in Pakistan where a democratic process is moving ahead in the right direction.

Rakhshanda Parveen, a social activist, said there was a time when even political discussion was not allowed in the public places during the Ziaul Haq regime and then the people took back the power from the dictator and restored democracy in Pakistan and now it is necessary to protect it against all odds.

Another social activist Farkhanda Aurangzeb said when she invited late poet Ahmad Faraz as a chief guest on a function during her college days the officials of the dictatorial regime of Ziaul Haq started interrogation and asked who gave her money for this work, adding “After interrogation I succeeded to assure them that no one had given any money and I invited him on my own.”

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