Amid Slogans of change Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) & Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers have started their sit-Ins for the last twenty days. These protestors are sitting infront of Pakistan’s partilament with their own distinctive demands.Naya (new) Pakistan is persistant slogan of Imran Khan (IK) who heads PTI. Dr.Tahir-ul-Qadri the leader of PAT has launched his protests against the corrupt system of the country. Both parties have raised almost similar slogans of change alogside their own different demands. This spring may be termed as a wonderful amalgamation of relgious plus liberal thoughts accomodating each other so beautifully till now. PAT is a religious movement with their own objectives and PTI is a political party with its own political manifesto. Tolerence with the views and acceptability of the two streams sitting together is indeed a wonderful site for many.This is something new and oppose the ideas of clash between liberal and religious forces. It has opened a new road of acceptability for all in the national arena of pakistan. This Khan-Qadri/Qadri-Khan spring is as elastic and accomodating as the idea of democracy itself.
The history of Sit-ins in the US history reveals the fact that the sit-ins aimed at peaceful protests. By 1960, the Civil Rights Movement had gained strong momentum. The nonviolent measures employed by Martin Luther King Jr. helped African American activists win supporters across the country and throughout the world.On February 1, 1960, a new tactic was added to the peaceful activists’ strategy. Four African American college students walked up to a whites-only lunch counter at the local woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and asked for coffee. When service was refused, the students sat patiently. Despite threats and intimidation, the students sat quietly and waited to be served.The civil rights sit-in was born in America. In Pakistani political history sit-ins of Qazi Hussain Ahmed(Late) head of Jamait-i-Islami remained very significant. The sit-ins never aimed at threatning democracy. Politics of intolerence and non acceptability of others viewpoint has always marred the true spirit of this peace tool.
If a careful examination of the marchers is done it would be interesting to notice that these sit-ins cater people from all segments of the Pakistani society. Most of the protesters belong to the elite in these protests who are quite interestingly chanting slogans for the rights of commenrs in Pakistan. Strange though it may seem very new in this manner for the very first time in PAT & PTI sit-ins. Their faces are not impowerished and they enjoy a comfortable life in the society where there are innumerable societal imabalances. There are 2300 PhD’s who are practically involved in the sit-in of PAT according to the media reports.It is quite astonishing to notice the varied participation in these marches and sit-ins that has marked a new political history in the country. There is a wave of protests and sit-ins in different cities of Pakistan to show solidarity with the marchers in the capital city. These protestors include students, members of the civil socity, common people, labrours etc. In nut shell it is an amazing mix of gender, youth and people from different segments of the society.
Some view these protests as an act of madness. There is indeed a method in the madness of IK & Qadri protesting against an elected government in Islmabad. One may come across such conspiracy theories in every nook and corner of the country. People gossip about an international involvement in the issue. Some relate these sit-ins a digression from American exit from Afghanistan and so on. Others have confussions about the proclaimed third empire by IK. The fact of the situation is that the whole country is worried about what is going to happen in such turmoil. There are thoughts about the future of Pakistan. Where one may term these sit-ins as a great democratic movement in the history there are many side effects of the same on the country’s economy, stability and prosperity. Life has become difficult for a common man. The deadlock should be resolved as it has taken too long now.People want change in an impoverished country like Pakistan but not at the cost of any further loss.
Unfortunately these protests have become voilent due to the clash between the protesters and the PTI & PAT workers when their leaderhip decided to shift their sit-ins infront of the prime minister house.In effort to do so according to the media report there has also been human loss. The clash between the police and marchers led to the unfortunate incidents of the attack on the Pakistan Television(PTV)-state TV building and the parliament by the protesters. Angry protesters entered the news headquarters of the state-owned television channel (PTV), they took over the programming control room and transmission was taken off air temporarily. It was later restored after the army stepped in to vacate the building. The situation has become very tense between different organs of the state due to the political unrest in the country. Army, police and other law enforcement agencies are at their toes to monitor and control the siutation. The worse affected so far is the police services of Pakistan who are serving on the front line and they have to face the music at the hands of the angry protestors.
There is high time to analyse and ponder on the failures of national institutions so far in resolving the issue. The politics of shifting the responsibility on each others should end now. The solution of all outstanding issues lies in table talks and discussions. The restraint shown by Pak Army by not intervening in the politics is quite appreciateable.It is an omen of great change in the national history of Pakistan where Army has ruled the country for more than three decades.They have shown their full resolve to help and support democracy. It is the time to take actions of strenthening democracy and democratic institutions.International community should help Pakistan in capacity building of its democratic institutions.
Twenty days after the sit-ins of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) started in Islamabad, the number of participants of the sit-ins has decreased significantly, different media channels in the country have observed. Analyst’s believe that the sit-ins are breathing their last as far as their numbers are concerned.When the ‘Azadi’ and ‘Inqilab’ marches led by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri reached Islamabad, both had a participation of around 25,000 and 15,000 respectively.Over the course of 20 days, the participation in PTI’s part-time sit-in fluctuated between 10,000 to 50,000 people but the numbers in PAT’s full-time sit-in remained steady at around 25,000 until the night of August 30 when both PTI and PAT tried to march forward from Constitution Avenue to Prime Minister (PM) House. PAT workers seem to be more consistent and committed as compared to the PTI workers whose turn up fluctuates at regular basis.
The peaceful protests beecame violent after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors who tried to enter a state building, a large number of PTI and PAT supporters deserted the procession and only die-hard followers of Qadri and a few hundred supporters of Khan remained on Constitution Avenue. It was indeed a sad scene to see the protestors clashing with police and either side attacking each other ruthlessly. Most observers agree that though Qadri’s remaining supporters are still charged, their number has dwindled, against expectations to the contrary. As for PTI supporters, the numbers has been declining steadily since the night of August 30. Nature has also turned hostile against the resolve of the marchers as there are continous rains that have affected the protesters sitting under open sky.
There are efforts made by the government to resolve the isssue alonwith other political parties in the country. An FIR of the Model Town incident has been registered as demanded by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), and members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in which many innocent people lost their live in clashes with the punjab police in Lahore. (PTI) have also come on the floor of the assembly 0n the last wednesday. It is hoped that these parties will soon end their sit-ins in Islamabad. Pakistan has suffered innumerously during these protests most recently an important tour of Chinese President was scheduled during which agreements worth billions of dollars was expected to be signed but the sit-ins have also disturbed this schedule. The dialogue committee of the opposition is playing important role and it is hoped that it will help to resolve the issue amicably.