Published Date: Jul 14, 2017
The Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) has expressed serious concern over the undermining of the democratic institutions of the country after the submission of the JIT report to the Supreme Court on July 10 in the Panama scandal case, and demanded that the case be decided according to the constitution and laws.
In a joint statement issued to the media, the PCSF, a national network of leading civil society organisations of the country, also expressed its concern over the media statements made by some opposition leaders demanding the resignation of the prime minister, because, according to them, the JIT report had stated so.
“It was not the mandate of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to declare anyone culprit or innocent. It is for the courts to decide,” the statement said, adding that targeting only the prime minister and his family was an equally condemnable act, and there should be an institutional mechanism for the accountability of all citizens.
The demand for the prime minister to step down was tantamount to maligning parliament, the judiciary and other democratic institutions, and this situation, orchestrated in the electronic media by TV anchors, opposition political parties’ leaders and so-called political analysts, had created unrest and uncertainty in the country and also diverted the focus from pressing issues being faced by the common people of Pakistan, it added.
According to the PCSF, this is a known fact that the entire elite class in the country is corrupt, so there should be an agreed framework to do across-the- board accountability of all elites, especially those who have remained in power in any form, including politicians, military officers, judges and civilian bureaucrats.
“We appeal to all saner elements to bring back the government’s focus to genuine issues like electoral reforms, land reforms and people’s welfare through economic reforms.” The statement said unrest against the democratic institutions arose frequently in Pakistan due to the fact that the current form of parliament was not a true representative as all sections of society like labour, peasants and other working class people were not part of it. To make parliament a true representative, electoral reforms were necessary to be introduced to provide an avenue to the workers and deprived communities to reach the parliament.
The PCSF also appealed to the leaders of all political parties, especially in the opposition, to work for strengthening the democratic institutions, saying that to achieve the objective they had to reach a consensus on democracy’s fundamentals.
Those who endorsed the statement included Karamat Ali, executive director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research; Mohammad Tahseen, executive director, South Asia Partnership Pakistan; Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute; Mehnaz Rehman, regional director of Aurat Foundation; Ellahi Bakhsh Baloch, regional head, Strengthening Participatory Organisation; Asad Iqbal Butt, vice chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; Farhat Perveen of the National Organisation for Working Communities; and Mir Zulfiqar Ali of the Workers Education and Research Organisation.