Democracy in Pak impossible, support to movements like Taliban will continue: Rights activist

July 10th, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, July 10 (ANI): A Washington-based human rights activist of Pakistan origin has said that democracy in Pakistan cannot take root because of the issues and crises that have dominated its political landscape for decades.
Munawar Leghari said Pakistan is a country where Islam and democracy cannot go together., no matter how hard its political actors try.
“It is kind of like when Musharraf was there (at the helm of affairs), for eight years. Now, to get things to move may take three to four years, through Asif Zardari or the PPP, then Nawaz Sharif will come. But the crises and issues will remain over there the same because the country’’s foundation is wrong. Pakistan is not a democratic country and one thing is Islam and democracy cannot go together,” said Leghari.
With extremism on the rise, Pakistanis continue to feel insecure, and in Leghari’’s opinion, a majority of the citizens don”t enjoy a normal life.
“They don”t have any normal life. Look now at the food issue, the food crisis, the energy crisis, this Islamic fundamentalism, where they say that terrorism or these other things, how they are impacting on the society,” he asks.
Leghari, who hails from Sindh, says the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to call the shots in Pakistan.
“The faces have changed, there is now a new manager. I would call them new, as they are the people with the same agenda, an agenda assigned by ISI, assigned by Pentagon. So, they are basically responsible on all issues. So, I would say if they continue these policies, it will be very difficult for this country to survive,” claims Leghari.
He believes that the last 60 years in Pakistan cannot be compartmentalised. Issues and crises dogging the state and its administrators are political, human and economic, and adds that the policies of the government are having a telling impact on normal life.
“So, there is no issue I would say that does not count as a human rights issue,” Leghari says.
When asked how has the ”war on terror” affected the campaign for human rights, he said: “There’’s no certainty in this country, where it will go, what direction it will go,”
However, he believes that the people in Sindh and Balochistan possess a silent power, a desire to secure total freedom.
“So, if this war against terrorism, or whatever name they give it, the people in Sindh and Balochistan, I can feel it, even though I”m not living there. I can feel that my people in Sindh, they have the silent power. And whatever US money you put to counter terrorism, or the war against terrorism, that is not going to stop terrorism. This is going to give more fire to terrorism. It will create more, maybe it’’s going to be a civil war,” he warns.
He substantiates his contention by citing the observations of Human Rights Watch, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, and even the State Department report.
“What are they saying about it? There’’s no progress in human rights in Pakistan. So, maybe my saying it may not have much of an impact, but Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, what they have said that is the reality, that is the evidence where the graph of the human rights situation in Pakistan is going,” Leghari adds.
He also believes that the people of FATA, Gilgit, Sindh and Balochistan are already alienated from Pakistan.
“They are not happy within the boundaries of Pakistan. They are not calling themselves Pakistanis. We do not have any kind of the Government of Pakistan left that we can say that we are Pakistanis,that we are proud to be Pakistanis. And the samesituation prevails in Gilgit, in Baltistan, even in Kashmir. They know how the Government of Pakistan is treating them,” Leghari says.
This Washington-based activist isn”t hopeful that things will change with the impeachment of President Musharraf or restoration of the sacked judges. Leghari believes that the present government, which is headed by the Pakistan People’’s Party (PPP), has done nothing to end human rights violations during its first 100 days in power. (ANI)

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