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Stand firm and united in support of democracy: statement by civil society groups in Pakistan

20 December 2011

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PRESS RELEASE, December 17, 2011

Civil society terms “memogate” scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people. Read on for the text of the statement and the signatories’ list

We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non-governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called “memogate”. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Undersigned (in alphabetical order by first name)

  • Abdulrahman Rafiq, Founder & Operations Coordinator SA Relief
  • Abrar Qazi, Awami President Awami Jamhori Party
  • Adam Malik, Human Rights Activist
  • Adnan Rehmat, Executive Director Intermedia
  • Aisha Gazdar, documentary filmmaker
  • Ali Asghar Khan, Aman Ittehad, Pakistan
  • Ali Raza, Shirkat Gah
  • Amir Aziz Syed, businessman
  • Anis Haroon, Women Action Forum
  • Arif Hasan, Architect, Urban Planner,
  • Arshad Mehmood, Executive Director Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child
  • Arshid Mirza, Baidarie Sialkot
  • Asad Mufty, columnist daily Jang.
  • Asad Rahman, Sungi Foundation
  • Asad Sayeed, Director, Collective for Social Science Research, Karachi
  • Ayesha Ijaz Khan, lawyer, writer
  • Ayesha Tammy Haq, journalist
  • Aziz Abbasi, President Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation
  • B. M Kutty, Secretary, Pakistan Peace Coalition
  • Babar Ayaz, journalist
  • Beena Sarwar, Independent Journalist
  • Bushra Khaliq,
  • Danial Noorani, social worker
  • Dr Haroon Ahmed, President Pakistan Mental Health Association
  • Dr. Abid Qayoum Suleri, Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute
  • Dr. Aly Ercelan, Senior Development Economist
  • Dr. Arif Azad, Development Consultant and Campaigner
  • Dr. Badar Siddiqui, Ex-President, Pakistan Medical Association,
  • Dr. Jaffar Ahmed, Irtiqa Institute of Social Science,
  • Dr. Kaisar Bengali, Senior Economist
  • Dr. Manzoor Ahmed Awan, Director Program Operations, Sungi Development Foundation
  • Dr. Mohammad Taqi, Columnist/Physician
  • Dr. Pervez Tahir, Economist
  • Dr. Taimur Rahman, Laal
  • Faiza Haswary, Lecturer, Hameed Law College, Karachi
  • Farooq Tariq, Spokesperson, Labor Party Pakistan
  • Fatima Zafar, National Focal Point, Youth Peer Education Network Multan
  • Fauzia Viqar, Shirkat Gah
  • Ghulam Fatima, Executive Member BLLF
  • Haider Nizamani, Human Rights Activist
  • Haris Gazdar, Independent Economist
  • Harris Khalique, Development Consultant
  • Hassam Qadir Shah, Lawyer
  • Hoori Noorani, Publisher
  • Human Fouladi, Aman Ittehad Balochistan
  • Ibrahim Malick, Technologist, Social Entrepreneur
  • Idrees Kamal, Coordinator Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network
  • Iqbal Alavi and Friends of Irtiqa and National Council of Academics
  • Iqbal Tareen
  • Irfan Ali, Aman Ittehad, Balochistan
  • Irfan Mufti, South Asia Partnership -Pakistan
  • Ishaq Mangrio, Independent Journalist,
  • Jaffar Memon, We Journalists,
  • Jami Chandio, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Civil Society,
  • Jugnu Mohsin, The Friday Times
  • Kamran Noorani, Businessman
  • Kamran Shafi, Columnist
  • Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research,
  • Kausar S. Khan, Women Action Forum
  • Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkat Gah,
  • Lala Hassan, Co-convener Asian Muslims Lawyers Human Rights Network for South
  • Lateef Mughal, General Secretary, Peoples Workers Union KESC
  • Mansoor Ahmed, SAP-Pakistan
  • Maqbool Dal, President, Village Community Development Organization Mirpur Khas
  • Marvi Sirmed, Columnist Daily Times
  • Masood Punjabi, trade union activist Sweden
  • Mehnaz Rehman, Regional Director Aurat Foundation,
  • Mirza Abdul Shakoor, Executive Director, Community Development Concern, Sialkot
  • Mirza Yusuf Agha
  • Mohammad Ali Shah, Chairperson Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
  • Mohammad Tahseen, Executive Director, South Asia Partnership Pakistan,
  • Mohammad Waseem, IRC Lahore
  • Mohsin Sayeed, journalist
  • Mola Bux Leghari, Executive Director, SPEACH Development org, Dadu, Sindh
  • Mumtaz Mughal, Aman Ittehad Punjab
  • Naeem Mirza, Aurat Foundation
  • Naeema Malik, South Asia Partnership -Pakistan
  • Najam Sethi, anchor, Geo TV
  • Najma Sadeque, Women Action Forum
  • Naseer Memon, Chief Executive, Strengthening Participatory Organization, SPO,
  • Nasir Iqbal, Lahore Social Forum
  • Nasir Mumtaz, Kashf Foundation
  • Nasreen Azhar, Women Action Forum
  • Naushad Shafkat, lawyer
  • Nausheen Ahmad, Advocate
  • Naziha Syed Ali, journalist
  • Nazim F Haji, industrialist, Former Chief Citizens Police Liaison Committee,
  • Nazir Ghazi, Godh Lahore
  • Nazish Brohi, Women Action Forum
  • Nighat Saeed Khan, ASR Resource Centre and Women Action Forum
  • Noman Quadri, student, Karachi
  • Omar Ali, Columnist and Moderator Asia Space
  • Peter Jacob, National Commission for Peace and Justice
  • Prof. Arfana Mallah, President, Sindh University Teachers Association,
  • Prof. Dr. Ijaz Khan, Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar
  • Punhal Saryo, President, Sindh Hari Porhiat Council,
  • Qamar Hayat, Executive Director Sahara Development Foundation,
  • Rabia Khan, Women Rights Activist, Karachi
  • Rahat Saeed, Acting Secretary General, Progressive Writers Association Pakistan
  • Raja Abbas, ANCE Lahore
  • Rana Bilal, Youth Parliament Pakistan
  • Rana Riaz Saeed, Development Activist and Lobbyist
  • Rashida Dohad, Omar Asghar Khan Foundation
  • Raza Rumi, writer/columnist
  • Raziq Fahim, Director, College of Youth Activism and Development
  • Rehana Shaikh, Institute of Social Policy
  • Rubina Jamil, NTUF
  • Sabahat Ashraf, “iFaqeer” Communicator, Citizen
  • Sabiha Shaheen, Bargad Foundation Gujranwala
  • Saeed Ahmed Rid, Commonwealth Scholar, Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK & Lecturer, National Institute of Pakistan Studies (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
  • Saeeda Diep, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies
  • Salima Hashmi, Artist and Academician
  • Samina Khan, Executive Director Sungi Development Foundation
  • Sayed Masud-ul Hassan
  • Shahvaar Ali Khan, musician, writer, ad man, peacenik
  • Shahzad Ahmad, Country Coordinator, Bytes for All, Pakistan
  • Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed, Chief Executive HANDS Pakistan
  • Sheema Kermani, Tehreek –e- Niswan
  • Sheen Farrukh, Inter Press Communications,
  • Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, Chair & Founder Pakistan Youth Alliance, Central Executive Committee, Khudi Pakistan
  • Tasneem Ahmed Siddiqui, Chairman, Saiban, Former Chief Secretary Sindh,
  • Ume Laila, Home Net Pakistan
  • Uzma Noorani, Council Member HRCP
  • Waseem Akram, SAP-Pakistan
  • Zahid Islam, Director, SANGAT-Lahore
  • Zia Banday
  • Zia Rehaman, AWAZ CDS Multan
  • Zohra Yusuf, human rights activist, Karachi
  • Zubaida Noor, Noor Education Trust, Peshawar
  • Zubair Faisal Abbasi, Development Consultant
  • Zubair Malik, STEP, Khushab
  • Zulfiqar Halepoto, Sindh Democratic Forum
  • Zulfiqar Shah, Institute for Social Movements Pakistan

see attached document [advertisement in Daily Times, 23 December 2011] below

info portfolio

Text of statement by civil society organisations and individuals in (...)