First, we need to develop ourselves as a nation, then economy
The citizens of all developed countries have developed themselves as a responsible nation first. This can be observed during their strikes or demonstrations on different issues, where mobs always respect humanity and public properties. In those countries people respect each other and help each other even duringstrong demonstrations.
In Turkey, when the army tried to take over from the elected government, the public came out in all main cities, especially in the capital and without damaging public property, they blocked roads so that army could not move further and as a result the mob forced Turkish army to stand down and moved back to camps. For the last couple of months, in Hong Kong, citizens are on roads and demonstrating against government but, we can see even during serious demonstrations, mobs respected public property and even provided clear passages to ambulances.Their videos are still viral on social media. Likewise, in European countries we observed that people recorded their demonstrations peacefully and never damage any public or private property.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we have totally a different mentality. In fact, there is some misconception in the mind of our aggressive people that public propertybelongs to the ruling party. That is why, whenever people gather to record any protest against any government, a few culprits start damaging public property. Why, may be because either we do not have any strict laws we are unable to implement those laws to protect public properties. It is on record that whenever thousands or even hundreds of highly educated people gather from any walk of life, first of allthey try to block streets or roads. In other words, they start creating problems to commuters, public transports, poor dying patients in ambulances, male and female students and business communities etc.
The Government should deploy trained additional officers in law-enforcement agencies who can de-escalate the issues at the beginning and prevent these types of riots or mischief at the end
When a mobwant to demonstrate or record any agitations, they block roads, burn tires and even damageof public properties including road signals, signboards, schools, hospitals, railway stations, metro bus stations and public sector buildings. This happenseven if police arrest a criminal during police raid or in any ambush, the family and relatives start to demonstrate, block roads and damage public property. Media also wrongly portray the situation and create panic with breaking news. This panic actually encourages the demonstrators no matter their demonstration is on right or wrong agenda.
There are hundreds of examples where demonstrators damaged and looted public property during strikes or demonstrations. It is also on record that mob looted fruits from the donkey cart of a poor street vendor during strike. ATM machines are detached and stolen from banks. Why we are like that? Our religion, which is a religion of peace, never allows us even during war to damage any public property including gardens, worship places, education institutions, hospitals and roads. How we can do it and misbehave in our own homeland? Our nation is shocked because of the recent incident in the Punjab Institute of Cardiology in Lahore, financial losses; public property damages and loss of lives have raised a lot of questions in our minds. Directly or indirectly, every single person is paying tax to the government which is being spent on public properties. These tax payers have a basic right to ask same question to the relevant authorities. Are we still living in jungle of beasts, where any powerful person or group can do so without any resistance? Our law-enforcement agencies are handcuffed?Or do not have ability to take any strict action or our lawsand judiciary do not support them to maintain peace. Although, in law, we have Section 146 of Pakistan Panel Code (PPC) for rioting by an unlawful assembly and its punishment is under Section 147 of PPC. And we have Section 425 PPC to punish for mischief or damage to the public or private property and its punishment is under Section 427 of PPC. This is the initial support of law but it is after the occurrence of any incident.
We should also take necessary measures to discourage or to avoid the circumstances which at the end cause the occurrence of such events. Think tanks, public sector organizations, judiciary, policy makers and academia should come forward and suggest recommendations at national and provincial level to change the law that can help to save the public and private property.
A compulsory subject should be offered byschools, colleges and at university level to all conventional and religious students to teach them ethics that how they can become a good, sensible, respectable and responsible citizen of this homeland. Public properties are being constructed and developed by public funds which are being collected from public so public is the owner of these properties and they should realize that they themselves have to protect and maintain these public assets.
The Government should deploy trained additional officers in law-enforcement agencies who can de-escalate the issues at the beginning and prevent these types of riots or mischief at the end.
Being a nation, we should not forget that all developed countries have raised their youth and nations with good manners first and only then they achieved their goals. Even developing countries have very strict laws against these types of issues. All government efforts will be wasted until and unless the government does notcontrol these types of embarrassing situations.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.