Now is the time to change the electoral system: Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri addresses mammoth public rally in Rawalpindi
Bedari-e-Shaoor Awami Rally, Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi
Talaba Ijtima, Nasir Bagh, Lahore
Shaykh-ul-Islam with Kamran Shahid on Express News in Front line
Shaykh-ul-Islam with PJ Mir on ARY News in Q&A
Minhaj-ul-Quran International and Pakistan Awami Tehreek jointly organized Public Awareness Rally in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on December 18, 2011, which was attended by over one hundred thousand people. Public rally was the biggest event in the history of Rawalpindi and Islamabad held against the corrupt and monopolistic electoral system.
The proceedings of the rally got underway with the recitation from the Holy Quran followed by Naat. Central leaders of MQI Rawalpindi Allama Umar Riaz Abbasi, Shamraiz Khan Awan, and PAT Secretary General Anwar Akhtar Advocate conducted the proceedings of the programme. The first session of the programme, which continued for two hours, concluded at 1 a.m. The participants of the rally offered their prayers during the break.
The second session of the programme started off after the Zuhr prayer. National anthem was played on the occasion and all the people attending the public rally stood up in the honour of the anthem. The chief highlight of the second session was the keynote address of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, which was telecast live from Canada. Minhaj TV showed all the proceedings of the mega event throughout the world. National and international media also telecast the programme.
In his speech, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that his thought was opposed to that of many anchors, intellectuals, analysts and political commentators. He said that electronic and print media always showed uniform picture in respect of political consciousness. He said that the door to public awareness, which he was opening, was never opened before and the subject was never brought under discussion at any level. He asked the media to take up this issue in the larger public interest. He said that he wanted to tell the people of Pakistan through the public rally that if the incumbent system, which was being dubbed as ‘democratic, stayed intact, no change would come about through it. He who would contest elections under the present electoral system would fail.
The political parties, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri added, accepted the system because they had winning horses and the system protected their parochial interests. He said that people would never be able to bring about change through their votes as they did not possess the power to do so because vote was not an agent of change in our political system. He said that vote was used as a façade to put in place a fake democratic system.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he was urging people to rise against electoral system out of his national and religious duty and not at the behest of someone else. He said that the current system had snatched people’s livelihood, their sovereignty, their integrity and paralysed them. He categorically stated that real change was not possible through current electoral system. He said that the system was geared towards protecting the interests of the ruling elite with nothing to offer to the poor masses. He said that the system had kept 180 million people shackled. He asked the people that the time to act and cause the change happen was now. However, he made it clear that the change he was talking of did not merely mean change of the government, rather the change of the corrupt and oppressive and unjust electoral system.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the current electoral system had become cancerous, which required surgery of the finest order to cure the body politic. The country needed a surgeon who was well aware of the intricacies of the disease. A new national government should be constituted, consisting of people with proven record of honesty and character, which should function under the Constitution and give a new social contract.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that no institution other than Supreme Court of Pakistan could pave the way for establishment of national government. Underlining the need of democratic reforms, he said that he aspired to have a Pakistan, which was free from affliction of terrorism and did not have any threats to the national security from outside. He said that it was unfortunate that Pakistani society was neither democratic, nor Islamic, nor even humanitarian.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that our political system had consistently been eating into the vitals of Constitution and we were still adamant to get it acknowledged as ‘democratic’. He said that dubbing Pakistan as a democracy was an insult to democracy itself. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the present system was not ‘Jamhooriat’ (democracy) but ‘majbooriat’ (compulsion). Urging the people to reject it, he said that Pakistan had gone many notches up on the global corruption index and even left Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ethiopia behind.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri warned the people of the dangers of being back riders who did not know the captains of the ship nor their intentions. If people continue to remain indifferent, the shipwreck was but a sure inevitability. He said that he wanted to see a moderate, peaceful and modern Pakistan, which should neither go to war with the US nor should play lackey to it. He said that we would have to become a nation capable of taking independent decisions. He declared in manifestly clear terms that PAT would not take part in elections. However, he added in the same breath that it would keep on knocking at the doors of people’s consciousness for change in the system because it was the only way to make things better for the masses.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he wanted Pakistan to be such a country as spends 10% of its Gross Domestic Product on education and health each. There should be mobile courts, which dispose off cases within three days. He said that the nation should beware that if change did not come now, the country would further slide into abyss of darkness. If the nation wanted a real change, it should take to streets and rise up against the corrupt electoral system. The political system being dubbed as democracy would further add to people’s disappointments even if parliaments continued to emerge from it for many decades.
Shaykh-ul-Islam said that this exploitative system had taken away from people their honour, respect, basic necessities of life, and right to accountability and even to life itself. The desire of leaving a better legacy for the succeeding generations, installing a real democracy and a real change would not be fulfilled without sending this electoral system packing. This system was an instrument periodically used to vote the elite into the corridors of power. He further said that he was neither opposed to political parties nor their leaderships but the very system, which was the mother of all problems.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that it was regrettable that Pakistan society was neither developed nor developing rather it was declining. It was more a crowd of people without any national purpose, which could bind them together. He said that 80% of people were worried for making their both ends meet, while 60% of them did not take any part in politics. He said that 40% of the people were persuaded to vote through stick and carrot method.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that never in the world did a member of parliament have any development funds. Development, he said, was responsibility of the government departments, which had the power to question MNA’s overstepping the line but in Pakistan MNA was all in all.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that freedom of expression was the basic right of media. When the dictators come into power, they gag media, while the so-called civilian leaders turn media into chattering box with little effect on them and their governance styles etc. He said that he regarded the electoral system as being responsible for the current predicaments for the country and its people.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General of Minhaj-ul-Qaruan Dr Raheeq Ahmad Abbasi said that MQI and PAT had launched a countrywide campaign to uproot the current electoral system and the public awareness rally in Rawalpindi was the first link in the same chain. He said that massive turnover of people in the rally was an indication, that people were ready for change. He said that Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri was guiding the nation at this difficult and critical juncture of history. He said that the day was not far when people would join the ranks of PAT and MQI and send the corrupt and exploitative system home.
Allama Ali Ghazanfar Kararvi, Secretary General of Tehreek Ulama-e-Pakistan, Sehikh Zahid Fayyaz, Ahmad Nawaz Anjum, Sayyid Ibrar Qadri, Chaudhry Lehrasib Gondal, Mustaq Shurwardi, Noshaba Zia, Baber Chaudhry, Tajjamal Hussain, and others also spoke on the occasion.
Amir-e-Tehreek Sahibzada Faiz-ur-Rehman Durrani, Dr Raheeq Abbasi, Sheikh Zahid Fayyaz, G.M. Malik, Fakher-uz-Zaman Aadil, Mirza Muhammad Asif Qadri, Ahmad Nawaz Anjum, Brig (R) Dr Obaidullah Ranjha, Sayyid Ibrar Qadri, Chaudhry Lehrasib Gondal, Mustaq Shurwardi, Noshaba Zia, Baber Chaudhry, Tajjamal Hussain, and other leaders graced the main stage.
Foolproof security arrangements were made with the cooperation of local administration and police. Separate entry points were made for entry of male and female participants.
- Fool-proof security arrangements were made. State of the art security system was installed at the entry gates.
- Elite force personnel performed security duty around the main stage.
- Special stands were erected in front of stage for electronic coverage of the programme.
- The participants were carrying flags of PAT and banners bearing slogan change.
- Umar Riaz Abbasi invited Shaykh-ul-Islam to deliver his address.
- Shaykh-ul-Islam led a prayer for the soul of those martyred during the NATO attack and for security and stability of Pakistan.
- The keynote address of Shaykh-ul-Islam started at 2:25 p.m.
- In the beginning of his speech, Shaykh-ul-Islam made it clear that the rally was organized for the people and had nothing to do with the current political situation prevailing in the country.