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Published Date: Dec 24, 2012

SDPI PRESS RELEASE (December 24,2012)

ISLAMABAD (24 December 2012) Analysts at a lecture have term the Arab spring as most defining event in region’s history after Iranian revolution.

They said deprived, oppressed and economically marginalized people have taken their destiny in their own hands against Western-backed extremely oppressive autocratic regimes. Historically, it was military in Arab states that earlier provided vehicle to uprisings but now it is the people who are agent of change, they added.

Raza Naeem, Literary Critic and Lecturer of Sociology at FAST-NU, Lahore was delivering a special lecture on “Arab Spring Two Years On, and the Destruction of Gaza: Results, Prospects, Consequencesþ” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General, PML-Q  chaired the proceedings.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that the Arab spring has changed the status-quo situation and transformed the whole region socially as well as politically. Calling Arab Spring as the most important and defining event in region’s history after Iranian revolution, he said that both Iranian revolution in 1979 and Egypt’s uprising occurred on 11th February and in both cases the West was supporting authoritarian governments against people’s wishes.

He added that Palestine is the core issue in the region where unfortunately US policy is pro- Israel and reminded that the West’s relations with Islamic world would remain stressed unless Palestine issue is resolved. He said Pakistan always sided with Palestinian people and supported Palestine cause at every forum with full commitment. He narrated various historical references of Pakistani support such as Pakistani support in Arab-Israel wars, giving PLO the ‘official status’ in Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974 and issuance of Pakistani passport to Tunisian Father of the Nation in war of independence. He also revealed that on 23 March 1940, two resolutions were passed by the Muslims of Subcontinent, one for Pakistan while the other resolution was passed in favour of Palestinian people.

Earlier, Raza Naeem, while giving a detailed lecture on the history, politics, uprisings, foreign interventions and evolving internal dynamics of Arab Word said that Arab spring has not been over yet and it still has to be transformed into a social movement. He advised to be patient regarding democratic outcomes of the uprising as revolutions take time and maintained that there is no short cut to democracy nor can it be brought through fighter planes or bombs.  He said that uprising in that part of the world has shattered the Arab stereotypes and was an eye-opener for western oreintalists.

He further said that uprising in Arab world is not a new phenomenon. In fact there are examples of uprisings in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arab and Yemen right from late 50s till today. These uprisings were crushed by autocratic governments with the help of western powers, with which they have secret agreements. The evidences reveal that there have been secret agreements and understandings of Arab governments with Western world to protect their interests, he said it while citing the secret agreement of King Hussain of Jordan with Israel, Egypt’s agreements with Israel and joint blockade of Gaza, recent Saudi agreement with west on Libya and Bahrain and compromised collaboration of Palestinian leaders with Israel.

Responding to question whether oppression, economic factor or external interventions drive uprisings, he said that urge for liberty, equality and fraternity stimulated Arab spring. People no longer wanted the sheer humiliation and authoritarianism in states which were virtually a client states to west and totally comprised on laws for ruling elites with no regard to welfare of common man.