THE ‘IRON-FIST’ MAYHEM

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BY: Fakhar ur Rehman 

Another Long March ended with unconstitutional, unlawful, fascist and brutal  use of State force which otherwise is meant to provide protection and to stop any untoward incident of violence or unlawful activity. 

Chairman Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf ( PTI) and Former Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced his Long March to pressurize the government to announce early elections, which was installed as a result of what Former Prime Minister Imran Khan labels as “a US instigated conspiracy for regime plan” . PTI became largest national party across the country with its popularity touching nearly 50% of the electorates . PTI launched its public campaign with as many as “32 public meetings“ across the country to dislodge foreign funded installed regime . Imran Khan declared it “imported government na manzoor “ as it was part of US plans to subjugate Pakistan for its own foreign policy agendas. Khan vowed not to let it succeed and bring down the puppet regime. 

Khan had been urging for dissolution of Assemblies and new date for elections in his public meetings else he will go for “peaceful long March“. Many back-door contacts in power corridors turned out to be “time gaining tactics with hollow assurances which made IK say it publicly that “he has been betrayed“.

The “imported government“ was formed by as many as 10 Political Parties who had formed Pakistan Democratic ( PDM) Movement to oust PMIK. PDM carried its own long marches from October 2021 onwards without any hurdles or road blocks from previous government headed by Imran Khan. The democracy mongering Pakistan People Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N) led PDM government jointly vowed to crush the PTI Long March with “Iron Fist”.

Accordingly, when Imran Khan’s turn came, the imported regime resorted to all kinds of brutal and jungle rule acts against peaceful citizens to suppress their fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution. A day before the Long March on May 24 the Sindh and Punjab Police who was supposed to provide protection to peaceful demonstration resorted to fascism. Thousands of roads inside cities in Punjab were blocked with barricades and containers curtailing people’s right to move in freely, at midnight houses were raided,  police trespassed in to houses without any lawful warrants to arrest PTI supporters or office bearers , female family members were terrorized , intimidated, anti-riot police force was deployed who baton charged peaceful citizens, private vehicles of people who wanted to participate in PTI’s Azadi March were destroyed while some were offloaded from buses. 

All the private and semi government institutions were issued instructions to not let their employees participate in long March. Even ex- servicemen have been penalized. All roads inside cities and national high ways leading to Islamabad were blocked with containers.

Pakistan’s constitution gurantees basic rights, including the right to protest. As per law,  Police action is warranted if a law and order situation is created . In this case the Sindh, Punjab and the Islamabad police provoked violence by preemptively brutalizing citizens with arrests, lathi charge and heavy tear gas shelling without any discrimination . Resultantly women and children suffered , their right to peaceful political activity muzzled. Even the Supreme Court orders were flouted. Pakistan became a land of no rule and law on May 24-25 . The Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah who is responsible for Model Town Lahore brutal killings of 14 workers of PAT and “22 alleged murders“ separately and an accused on bail in narcotic case, himself admitted over 4 thousand raids and two thousand arrests and yet blamed the PTI for causing chaos.

Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, remained under intense shelling , constrained the people to say as if Indian forces were targeting or Israeli forces like Palestinians. Even toddlers carrying women were not spared from teargas shelling, many fainted. PTiIChief Imran  said,  ”we were targeted with severe shelling as we were terrorists”. Shamelessly the Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday thanked the Islamabad law enforcement agencies saying , “ thank you for saving Pakistan”. All the two events proved that champions of democracy, advocates of rule of law and fundamental rights are worse than dictators when they are in power. Especially when they are on bail in corruption and money laundering cases. 

Despite all sorts of draconian actions of the present government the PTI supporters continued bracing shelling a whole night long in Lahore and Islamabad at D Chowk until Imran Khan reached there on the morning of May 26. Brutal use of force did not deter people’s determination for “ Haqiqi Azadi” to oust US puppet regime. Imran Khan has given 6 days ultimatum for elections date or he will again mobilize people for another March. Already the PML-N led PDM government shall pay political cost for its barbaric actions. 

For PTI supporters it was not their march , it was a long March beyond political affiliations, to uproot corrupt mafia to awaken people to realize what is real freedom. Freedom of social, political, economic, education, justice, high morality, self-respect and dignity, to build a New social order based on cannons of Quran and Sunnah. A charter of human Rights . The battle is yet to end. 

Back ground information suggest that the Long March has achieved its objective and dissolution of Assemblies is now a matter of few days. Following the end of the PTI Long March, Now the imported regime has undone the law for use Electronic Voting Machines in elections, NAB powers restriction bill passed, expatriate Pakistani right to vote in elections usurped. This what the “imported government“ had stated to do with some electoral reforms. Already talks with IMF has not ended as per government expectation. Removing subsidy on petroleum products, electricity will unleash a new wave of inflation and public wrath , that means another political loss. 

But with the PM Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza the Chief Minister Punjab on bail facing money laundering cases and rest of 60 % Cabinet on bail early elections for them could be a choice with no other choice. Here an interim set up of technocrat tenure is significant too. Top priority is how to handle financial / economic mess. Announcement of early elections in next few days would be great Political victory for Imran Khan led PTI but would he be flexible on election date? He can’t afford to lose the Political momentum that he is miraculously won from 7% to around 50%. Given the “Iron fist” results, elections day would be another mayhem. Let’s hope not so.