PAT not to take part in elections 2013, vows struggle for change

Addressing historic mammoth public meeting against oppressive, iniquitous, elitist and corrupt system, which was held in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on March 17, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that his speech was divided into five parts. He said that the first part will analyse the prevalent political situation in the country; the second one will be premised on prospects of optimism and hope. He said that the third part of his speech will throw light on his vision. He said that he wanted to tell the Pakistani nation that they should not be disappointed. He said that the fourth part of the speech would dilate upon the methodology of bringing about change in the current political system, while the fifth and final part would deal with the course of action with reference to change.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he was elected to the National Assembly in 2002 and had the first-hand experience of what happened in the hollowed halls of power. He said that he concluded that the same crop of MNAs was in the Parliament then who ‘graced’ the legislatures after the conduct of elections in 2008. He said that the country’s political system, whether civilian or military, was contrived to protect the vested interests of the same privileged club of people. He said that the people of Pakistan did not have any space in the artificially contrived system.

ARY News: Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri Addressing a public rally - I

ARY News: Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri Addressing a public rally - II

Dr Qadri said that he raised voice against the electoral system for 8 years from 2004 to 2012 and changed this voice into a sustained movement under the title of Public Awareness Campaign. He said that the public meeting in Rawalpindi was being held as part of the same campaign. He said that PAT organized historic and ground-breaking public meeting and reception, the biggest in Pakistan’s history, on December 23 in Lahore to propagate the message of change at the grassroots.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that PAT launched a political and constitutional movement to raise public awareness in the country. He said that the month of January saw hordes of people coming from across Pakistan to take part in historic Long March and sit-in, which was a unique event of its kind in history of 65 years. He said that it was a peaceful gathering of thousands of people including women and children, adding that the event established a rare example of tolerance, peace, and harmony. He said that neither did a leaf was plucked nor a glass was broken. He said that the five-day long sit-in improved Pakistan’s image in the international community. The participants of the March and sit-in, he maintained, proved through their action that no nation was more organized than Pakistanis. He said that the marchers proved that if the nation got a credible leadership, they could work wonders and undergo transformation within five days.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that had we wished, we would have snatched the power from the powers that be saddling the positions of power in the federal capital but we did not let go of patience, democracy and peace. He said that he chose the option of dialogue to end the impasse as per the Sunna of the Holy Prophet (SAW). He said that he also knocked on the door of democracy, law and the Constitution. He said that we also knocked at the door of judiciary for the sake of the poor, the helpless, the widows, the peasants and the disadvantaged sections of society. He said that even the law was in the possession of the powerful that did not let its benefits trickle down to the masses. Dr Qadri said that all political forces were aligned together to protect their interests but they could not stop the government from starting a dialogue.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the Election Commission was illegal as it was not constituted as per spirit of Article 213. He regretted that an institution which was required to dispense justice and uphold Constitution did not fulfill its fundamental duty. He said that an unconstitutional Election Commission was protected and now it was making efforts to hold illegal polls in the country.

Dr Qadri revealed that former Federal Minister Khursheed Shah, who was head of the parliamentary committee, admitted in front of him and other ten people that the committee did not follow the laid down procedure and relevant law for the formation of the ECP. He said that the former Minister for Law and Justice also expressed the same view. He asked all the five members of the ECP to state on oath whether their selection was made as per law and laid down procedure, adding that if they responded in the affirmative, he was ready to withdraw his claim regarding unconstitutional formation of the ECP. He also asked the three honourable judges of the apex court to state on oath that the ECP was constituted as per law. If they did, he said that he would take back his claim in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the Supreme Court that took suo moto notice of every important matter, failed to take notice of unconstitutional formation of the ECP. He said that everyone was required to be held answerable to Allah Almighty for all acts of omission and commission. He said that the people had a right to ask questions and hold those in power accountable. He said that the ECP was unconstitutional and it was futile to expect of an illegally established institution to hold fair, free and transparent polls in the country. He said that an institution, which was not transparently set up, could not be expected to ensure transparency of the elections it was required to preside over.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri declared to forgive all those who resorted to his character assassination or slander, and raised baseless allegations against him on media or elsewhere. He said that his party or workers would not respond to abuse through employment of abusive language. He said that he was an advocate of tolerance and moderation and it was his lesson to the people as well.

Who is behind us?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that some sections of people were still asking as to who was behind his movement. He said that he wanted to make it clear that the oppressed and suppressed people were the source of his support. As to allegations regarding funding, he said that what to speak of financing three/four public meetings, he declared that we could retire all debt of IMF, the World Bank or Paris Club within a period of one year with the support of the masses.

Dr Qadri said that he neither accepted any gift from anyone nor took a cup of tea from the funds of MQI or PAT in his 32-year long struggle. He said that he would always pay from his pocket for these things. He said that he was saying all that as a challenge and as a matter of record.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that a malicious propaganda campaign was launched against us, insinuating that a holder of dual nationality could not go to the court. He said that the Election Commission declared on March 15 that a dual nationality holder could become the interim Prime Minister of the country and that there was no constitutional bar on him. He said that this duality needed to be done away with, adding how ironic it was that a person having dual nationality was not qualified to contest elections but could become the interim Prime Minister of the country. He said that that was undemocratic tricks which could not stop the way of revolution. He warned that the people would rise against the system and crush everything under their feet.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the so-called champions of democracy got a legislation of their interests approved in the assembly two day before its dissolution. They got the bill increasing their funds passed. He made a startling revelation that every legislator got a sum of Rs. 1 billion to 1.5 billion in the name of development funds during the past five years. He said that a sitting MPA from Balochistan Assembly told him this, adding that if it was misinformation, President Asif Zardari should reject this himself. He said that had this staggering amount of money been spent on the welfare of the people, they would not have been in the kind of mess they were now. Dr Qadri said that the people did not know the name of any minister in Punjab other than the Chief Minister who was holding 18 ministries. He said that he alone was custodian of the billions of rupees meant for the well-being of the people.

Plunder of resources

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the federal government ended the public holiday on Saturday. He said that ‘organized robberies’ were committed during the last day as it was considered as a field day to loot and plunder whatever institution came their way. He said that the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers spent billions of rupees of their discretionary funds.

Caretaker Prime Minister

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the National Assembly was dissolved on March 16 after reaching its expiry period but the consensus on the name of the caretaker Prime Minister could not be developed. He said that there was a method to this madness as those holding the positions of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers were now in a position to enjoy power and perks for nine more days. He said that this situation would also enable the powers that be to have an access to loot and plunder of national resources. He said that everything was happening under the very eyes of the Election Commission but it was deaf and dumb, unable to rein in the culprits. He said that the ECP was partaker in the corruption saga.

Citing examples of UK, France, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt and India, Dr Qadri said that there was no provision for installation of the caretaker set-ups as it was the mandate of the sitting governments to hold elections. He said that the Election Commissions of these countries were so powerful that the governments would not dare transgress their limits or commit any wrong-doing in their presence. He said that the drama of caretaker government was only enacted in Pakistan. He said that this was so because institutions were neither developed nor strengthened. It explained why corruption and pre-poll rigging were order of the day.

Which democracy in Pakistan?

Throwing light on the performance of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri presented a few contrasts and comparisons to serve as barometers to judge the quality of service delivery of the system. He said: the US dollar stood at 68 rupees a few years ago. It had now crossed psychological mark of Rs. 100. The flour per kg was Rs. 12. Now it was being sold between Rs. 38 and Rs. 45. The urea per sack stood at Rs. 700. Now it was 1800 rupees. The chicken which was sold at Rs. 78 had now crossed Rs. 200. The mutton was sold at Rs. 230 then and now it was being sold at Rs. 580. The electricity unit which was Rs. 3.3 had now reached Rs. 9. He said that forty thousand Pakistanis were martyred in incidents of terrorism. He said that Karachi and Balochistan had become killing fields and the governments, both federal and provincial, were unable to stop the mayhem. He said that over 200 houses of the Christians were torched in last five years but nothing was done. He asked poignantly whether Quaid-e-Azam established Pakistan for this state of affairs. He said that every segment of society including peasants, labourers, students and the factory workers were living below the poverty line and going deeper into its cruel abyss as the time went by.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri asked the people of Pakistan not to be disappointed by the depressing situation the country was caught up in. He said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah promised socio-economic justice and a good standard of living to the people. He asked the people whether they were getting in the state of Pakistan what they were promised. He said that it could happen in this country that an educated youth with a good degree was jobless while a fake degree holder could become a member of Parliament and lord over their fate.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that Quaid-e-Azam promised that every citizen of the state would live in peace and get protection. He asked whether this promise of the Quaid was fulfilled. He said that Article 38 of the Constitution promised security of law but asked whether that promise was fulfilled. He said that in the same way the Constitution promised that every child would get free and compulsory education but asked whether that promise was fulfilled. He said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed enforcement of fundamental rights, the right to education and health facilities, employment and socio-economic justice. He said that the first 40 Articles of the Constitution dealt with the fundamental rights of the people and their enforcement was the responsibility of the state. He said that no government gave any attention to the implementation of even one Article.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that March 17 did not represent an end to PAT’s struggle. He said that the movement of change which was launched on December 23 in Lahore was entering its most productive and meaningful phase. He asked the people to reject the incumbent electoral system and rise for revolution. He asked them to demonstrate pursuit of higher ideals, adding that if they remained steadfast and indomitable, the success was bound to come their way. He asked the people that they should not fall prey to the demons of disappointment and despondency. He said that it mattered little if one path was closed, further saying that 100 new paths would open up. He said that if the people voted, the same breed of corrupt politicians and plunderers would come back to assemblies. He said that doing so was criminal. He further held that he was convinced that it was not possible to bring about change under the present system of elections.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri declared in unmistakable terms that his struggle would continue unabated unless the people got their rights, the poor access to plentiful food, the farmers and workers the rewards of their labour, and the farmers the ownership of land they were cultivating. He said that his struggle would continue unless tolerance drove out extremism and prosperity and pluralism replaced adversity, exclusivity and terrorism.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri asked people to return to their homes equipped with renewed hope and optimism. He said that the valley of AJ&K would experience prosperity. Peace and prosperity would descend on the mountains of the Khyber Pakhtankhawa and the plains of Sindh and Punjab would produce gold. Balochistan would again become land of love and proud traditions.

State of Madina—Role Model for Pakistan

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he wanted to make Pakistan a true representation of Madina state. He said that there was a need of revolutionary reforms in all areas of national life including health, education and law etc. He said that governance could not improve unless administrative problems hindering effective service delivery were resolved. He said that Turkey had a population of 70 million people but had 81 provinces. Iran, Japan, China, Kenya, Vietnam, France and Italy had 30, 47, 33, 58, 26, 26 and 26 respectively. He said that Pakistan had a population of 180 million but were divided into four provinces only. He said that devolution and decentralization of power was the order of the day in the entire world. He said that around 1900 mayors presided over the local government system in the US, while President Obama dealt with the central and larger issues.

Demand of New Provinces

Presenting a solution to the administrative failures and governance issues, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri demanded that 35 new provinces should be carved out. He proposed that all powers should be devolved to provinces while the federal government should be responsible for five subjects including foreign affairs, interior affairs, defence and homeland security.

Prime Minister—leader of the nation

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that in a parliamentary system of the government, the Prime Minister was the leader of the house in National Assembly. He said that he should rather be the leader of the nation representing their aspirations and confidence.

Sit-ins across the country

Making the most important announcement, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that Pakistan Awami Tehreek would not take part in the forthcoming polls that had the potential of breaking the country. He said that we stood for change in the system and would continue to wage unflinching struggle in this regard. He said that sit-ins would be arranged throughout the country as part of struggle aimed at changing the corrupt electoral and political system. He however added that these sit-ins would be peaceful. He said that door-to-door campaign would be launched for success of these sit-ins. He said that our slogan from here onward would be:

“There would be sit-in on the day of elections and the incumbent system would have to go.”

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