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Long March and… a new generation learns to Mobilize

Burhan and Riaz Ahmed
International Socailists of Pakistan

History made an entire cross section of civil society of Pakistan learned and transformed from its own struggle against rules from above. Long march ended today at 6 am with thousands of agitators sending a strong message to those in corridor of power that they know how to mobilize nationwide and the next time the rulers will not have a chance.

We are in Rawalpindi rite now. Last nite we went to Isd. A Huge no. of people in Rawalpindi/Isd are disappointed at decesion to cancel Dharna. We asked 50 people and 80% of them disagreed with Aitzaz MAny young lawyers and civil society members were Dumbstruck. They were ready for further action but were let down by the leadership. when Aitzaz started his speech many students and activists felt that the Dharna would be canceled and then they started agitating.

People present there were not consulted at all before the cancellation. If cancellation was done because of logistical reasons then proper arrangements could have been done and funds could have been raised to help those willing to sit in front of the parliament. It was done in an undemocratic fashion.

this doesnot suggest by any means a betrayal nor this can be reduced to the vacillation of the middle class. But one very important reason for such a decesion could be the fact that around 6 am, 80% of the people present were lawyers.

when we left Pindi for Isd, it was phenomenal. There was huge public support. various people (old, young) responded to the slogans that we were shouting from the roof of our bus. From central Punjab onwards, mainly youngsters openly abused Musharraf, in very foul language. From Pindi, when the convoy started, it was 8km long. Till Zero Point, nearly 1.5 to 2 lac people stood on the sides to greet the procession. From Aabpara onwards we had to walk towards the main stage. it was nearly a 4km walk. while we were walking nearly 20,000 people were walking ahead of us.

At the main area there were not less than 1 lac people. might be more but not less. Overwhelmingly majority of people were either from middle class or were lawyers. The general feeling there was that something BIG is happening or rather has happened. And this feeling was that (at least in the Short run) politics will not be done in the ways of the past.

The Karachi delegation of IS thankful to Mr. Rasheed Rizvi, Noman Qadir and salahuddin Ahmed for taking care during the journey coordination, accommodation and insuring that we are treated well by the host bar associations.

Over all international socialist’s comrades sold 390 socialist Urdu magazine and 415ooklets, over ten thousand leaflets stopover of IS bus and bar council rally through out in the long march. On June 13 39 socialist and 82 booklets were distributed over two thousand leaflets. On June 14 during the Dharna 32 socialist were sold and 1500 leaflets distributed.

Earlier only lawyers’ protests were seen as respectful, but after this civi; society shall also gain respect and will be seen as “agents of change”. Another transformation was that such huge no. of people can be gathered by a national call. It’s now imperative that a national conference of activists belonging to various shads in the movement. We call to discuss the next call for long march mobilization to strengthen the movement from the below.

Long march has become a mile stone for generations to come, it has shown that we can mobilize and organize but still it also shows that the movement, its leadership, has to look towards the forces that would like forge a compromise of national capital with the international capital. A number of time during the long march the lawyers leadership has to look towards political support of Nawaz Sharif, Jamat Islami and Tehrik Insaaf so as to mobilize masses, it’s these forces of the national capital who can’t fight imperialism on their own but they always like the professionals and the working classes to fight their war of liberation. The professionals and working classes will surely learn from this historic mobilization.

Burhan and Riaz Ahmed.


27 Comments

  • MALIK AMAN |

    what ever happened in the past week was great but i didnt like the ending a seige was a must, come on such large numbers of people could have made a difference now at least Musharraf can not say that there were only a few .if he doesn’t go now than i atleast don’t know what will become of him

  • paindoo |

    Mobilization? or deception?

    PML-N hijacks lawyers’ movement: Party using long march to mobilise workers for by-elections

    By Amjad Warraich

    LAHORE: The way the lawyers’ long march is proceeding shows that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has succeeded in getting political mileage out of the movement, but the lawyers have lost.

    Although the PML-N was very much on the centre stage of sacked chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s reception at Lahore Airport on Wednesday, it put in more energy on Thursday to make a public meeting near Minar-e-Pakistan a success. It was perhaps because of this that the attendance in Wednesday’s reception from the airport to the high court premises remained below 3,000, but increased remarkably at the Circular Road public meeting where Nawaz was scheduled to address the audience.

    read on: http://letusbuildpakistan.blogspot.com/

  • np |

    @paindoo
    that is very poor logic

    PMLN and PPP are not contesting against each other in by-elections so pmln candidates are going to win anyway from the constituencies in Punjab from where they are running.

  • Imran |

    This was a very small lawyers “Mukka”, stay tuned for knockout Mukka against Musharraf & Dog Doggar.

  • Aamir |

    Paindo fittay muun!
    who is Amjed warriach i dont know,but i only know that PML-N is a political party who does possitive politics,they secrifies their ministries for a great cause,they participate in long march for a great cause,if it was a game then it was a fair play…
    y PP thought otherwise wether they are fools?
    Political parties have to clearly stand on issue in interst of public,,wich PML-n did n does….

  • Hassan Abbas |

    It is quite obvious the long march let down the very people who supported it – and that the lawyers while the have an abundance of enthuisism for restoration of the judiciary lack the discipline,political acumen,organizational capacity,or will to notch up their struggle to a higher level.

  • Silence |

    I was disappointed on decision of Itazaz as well but in my opinion it was a wise decision on following grounds;

    1. Although the participation of civil society and liberal citizens was unprecedented in our history, unfortunately in the end entire show was hijacked by Mullah’s, APDM and fundamentalist elements who have their own agenada.

    2. Retired generals and Mullahs who are a civilian wing of Pakistan army wanted to use this show to create law and order situation to bring down government and the entire responsibility would go on lawyers and civil society.

    3. One aspect which has been highlighted in this event is that fundamentalists are still more organised then civil society and liberal groups who are scatered and unorganised.

    I hope that liberal force and civil society activists would take it as a lesson and try to unite or even show some better coordination in future although they outnumbered mullah’s but still were unable to stop them from hijacking that show.

    And finally it was totally impossible to keep such a huge crowed peaceful in case of “dharna” for days for lawyers and civil society activists apart from the resources which was used as an excuse.

    I salute to all who participated and no doubt this event has made a change in way of thinking of our people and given them hope and courage.

  • paindoo |

    @Aamir on June 15, 2008 @ 1:51 am

    AoA,

    You wrote: “i only know that PML-N is a political party who does possitive politics”

    Here is a glimpse:

    Friday, 28 November 1997

    Pakistan grappled with its worst-ever constitutional crisis when an unruly mob stormed into the supreme court, forcing Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah to adjourn the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Hundreds of Pakistan Muslim League supporters and members of its youth wing, the Muslim Students Front (MSF), breached the police cordon around the courthouse when defence lawyer S.M. Zafar was arguing his case.

    A journalist rushed into the courtroom and warned the bench of an impending attack. Whereupon, the chief justice got up abruptly, thanked Zafar and adjourned the hearing. While judicial members left the courtroom soon after, the mob entered it shouting slogans, and damaged furniture.

    The unruly mob, led by ruling party member from Punjab Sardar Naseem and Colonel (retired) Mushtaq Tahir Kheli, Sharif’s political secretary, chanted slogans against the chief justice. The mob also beat up Pakistan Peoples Party senator Iqbal Haider. The police managed to restore normalcy after baton charging and teargassing the mob, both inside and outside the courthouse. The court which assembled at 9:45 a.m., could continue the proceedings for only about 45 minutes.

    Further details and picture at:

    http://letusbuildpakistan.blogspot.com

  • M@NI |

    @paindoo your postings on every topic at teeth maestro with a reference to some unknown blog (good work for publicizing), doing your utmost to negate the long march and lawyer movement will do nothing other then wasting your energy… yaaar get a life.. chill kaar.. people of pakistan will now come out with more in numbers, every one i know who went to long march is more charged now:-)

  • M@NI |

    @Silence: the long march was a family show.. kids were also in good numbers. It was one of the most peaceful protest, and i also feel AA decision was wise for not doing dharna. Great show lawyers, hats off to you.
    They have shown that how much CJ is loved by pplz of pakistan and how much Mush is being hated…
    yaaroo musharaf ko sharam nahi hay :(

  • paindoo |

    @M@ni

    You wrote: “every one i know who went to long march is more charged now.” I hope what you are saying is not a partial picure.

    Good on you, yaar. Chill karo.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Long March has proved that Pakistanis are alive. It was one of the biggest show in the history of Islamabad. Prior to this March Islamabad has only seen this type of mamath gathering in Zia’s regime when Mufti Jaffer Hussain called for a demonstration and it proved to be a Million march. Thanks God we participated in this long march.

  • spill the beans! |

    the long march proved jack!tht this nation is abunch of idiots! following behind idiots like iftekhar and nawaz!people who have raped the nation!well u guyz deserve worse thnk god im out of here!!!live amongst donkeys and ull start to act like them! so true!!.. i jes witnessed it over the tv last week!

  • amjad |

    readers who is this Teeth Maestro is he just like Hamid Mir and Dr Shahid who are bribed and purchased by Nawaz Sharif to defame and damage the President of Pakistan. is he that free man who has to do nothing but write against Pervaiz Mussharaf. must be a paid man by someone be aware of such type of writers.reportedly, a report is coming up in Times Magazine where they will unearth media psychological war against President. We the goof Pakistani’s.

  • amjad |

    WE THE GOOF PAKISTANI’S ZINDABAD.playing in the hands of politicians. i have a question to media why dont they speak about terrorism and terrorist. no they will not because they are scared that they will blow them off. have you ever seen any discussion on TV on this topic. why Nawaz Sharif is dying hard for the restoration of judges because that is the only way where he can use them for third time primer ship other wise he is a gone case (QADOO).

  • Hassan Abbas |

    Amjad ,before we can act against terrorists we have to be clear who are the real terrorists . This is specially important after the recent example by our ‘allies’ whose fighter jets deliberately intruded into our air space to kill our soldiers.After all that President Musharaff has done for them too ! Even the post incident public statements of American leaders adds insult to injury -and a mouse like Karzai who can’t venture out of his fortified hole in Kabul most of the time, dares to roar against us at the instigation of such allies.Perhaps the journalists know more then you or I do?

  • a_pakistani |

    @amjed
    ASLAM_U_ALEIKUM!
    i think media in pakistan is doing a great job,amjed my dear they are speaking about terrorists,dont u think MUSH is a finest example of a terrorist…hameed mir n dr.shadid in whose programes Mush has been exposed,their channels is blocked….a terrorist who is stronger only b,coz he is the younger brother of the number one terrorist of all time(BUSH)
    do u realy think that the authority who allow these anchers to speak against him(MUSH)who according to u paid them,dont have so much power to save them/?

    i advise you to check ur eye side,or u need a psycatrist..n alwys see a half glass water in glass not empty..may ALLAH give u right path

  • Aamir |

    @spill the beans
    ‘ll u plz tell me when ur family is rapped by Iftikhar n nawaz?

  • Aamir |

    @paindo!
    what an impressive note you have written,hahaha

  • amjad |

    Long March: a show of public support
    By: Amjad Malik

    14 June Long March ended inconclusive, where lawyers showed wisdom by curtailing the gathering of masses turning into a mob wiping out the political process emerged as a result of 18 February elections. Lawyers made their point that public wants some sort of credible judiciary and to start with, they have at hand the 2 Nov Judges who refused to take personal oath of loyalty to outgoing General. Lawyers, Civic Society, media and politics of conscience have patiently rang the alarm bells giving time to the civilian govt to meet the public demand reserving the right to come again and next time they may not go back, until judges are restored and accountability is held on streets.

    However, pressure to wind up all the ‘sit in’ slogans or threats was all carried out in a bit of a hurry. May be lawyer leaders were a little bit tired or were under pressure of handling thousands on street which was a unique & unprecedented experience. In any event the show was successful and all credit goes to Nawaz Sharif for helping lawyers to muster public support and successful winding up as well as conveying clear threats to the President standing in his back yard. Now one thing is for sure that either this public demand will be met in its entirety and judges will take charge in a few months to come or the whole political process will be wound up to either have new elections or new set up. In any new elections, lawyers may jump in the elections too with the same demand jointly with other political forces or singularly on the slogan of ‘justice for all including judges’ as they have an elected team present to contest from Karachi to Peshawar with a strong net working. The ball is now in the court of the shrewd politicians some of which are still under the impression that President’s survival is a security to the National Reconciliation ordinance which I think is a fallacy. Politicians who have been facing trumped up charges on political grounds must be ready once for all to face the music before a true independent judiciary with sharp teeth. It will not only ensure due process of law, fair trial and will promote a principle of an end to political victimisation of prisoners of conscience where people like Zardari and Javed Hashmi wait for years to have justice. A clear bill of health by free judiciary may only purify them all from the sins of past or by a South African style truth & reconciliation commission where looted money is given back in the public purse.

    One thing missing in the whole scheme was the stalwarts of lawyers movement like Justices Wajeeh Uddin Ahmed, Fakhur uddin Ibrahim and Justice Siddiqui who have been vocal on the right direction as this consultation process must never end which differ them from the others. Otherwise progress may be hindered due to civil dictators creeping in the ranks of lawyers movement. Lawyers are different from others only because they consult, take advice from seniors and agree to disagree on all major issues of principle. A few also felt that Justice Chaudhary should have led the long march from Lahore towards Islamabad. He should have concluded the Long march by speaking to masses in the end thanking every one where lawyers in the end proposed a carefully drafted resolution which should have been presented and approved by public at hand and should have been given to politicians in Govt in the morning of 15 so that crowd goes back less dejected. Ali Ahmed Kurd whose fiery claims and speeches always gave a revolutionary approach with which normally things are settled in Pakistan was not there either and was missed dearly. It also gives a lesson that with fiery speeches you may get applause but judiciary does not get independence. It requires sheer political will, joint collaboration and consultation in the national interest, wisdom and sacrifice which is pre requisite to translate this dream into a reality. May be consultation is the key which needs to be mastered in coming days by lawyers.
    In the end a word of wise to lawyers that they must not fall a prey to pragmatism and lack of resources thesis. If according to them 5 lacks can join them at Parade ground late at night in the barren lands of Islamabad, the very people have the capacity and courage to manage without food and drink for at least 48 hours so that a taster is given to the dictator for occupying the seat denying the mandate of 18 February elections. At that time, lawyers negotiation teams must have polished their nails to extract a Governmental statement with a concrete promise to restore judges within a time framed deadline and or punishment to those who fired them. At least 48 hours sit in at the same ground would have unnerved all quarters and would have benefitted enormously and lawyers must have left with a date to come back again in case the judges are still on the road.

    These are all academic analysis. In all process, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan deserves an applause for staging a mini referendum against General Musharraf as well as against indecisive Parliament. Now they must pay attention to the fact that whether its Executive Order, resolution or Constitutional package, Judges ought to be restored. Parliament so far has failed to make any progress to restore those judges who were made non functional on the eve of 3rd November against the order of then Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhary. Road map is given, its do or die stage and I am afraid this time Parliamentarians will be responsible themselves for the downfall of political process if they fail to respect the public demand and the mandate given to them. The so called constitutional package has not yet been presented in the legislative body so far and Parliament is idle killing flies in first 3 months and rulers have vetoed its effectiveness by preferring to settle issues of national importance in drawing rooms and through back channel diplomacy. Unelected are dictating the elected ones and President is heading the gang of unelected who are ready to do any dirty just to please their boss. Two parallel governments are in action, one stops national media airing a top talk show and the other denies any involvement in it. Popular leaders are watching all this helplessly.

    Public is gauging the mood of this parliament with a caveat and they have enjoyed coming to street to raise their voice of dissent and if this enjoyment becomes a habit due to inefficiency of our ruling clan then they all will go who used to raise slogans of democracy, rule of law, justice in their election campaigns and did nothing when they came to power for their voters, people, institutions or to strengthen the very parliament they sit in except forming committees over committees to oversee matters until the demand is gone without justice. They have lost sanctity of their words now fear is their asset from those days when public questions their very eligibility to govern.

    Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK

    16 June 2008

  • spill the beans! |

    @Aamir

    my dear,people like you are the ones who have brought this nation to tis heels..now a few facts..
    nawaz when he was frst time prime minister(n when he was bald) had a few issues with his president then..they both took the matter to who?let us guess? General kaAkar! its, even today they are linin up behind retired generals and tryin to woo servin generals to help them get back in power! do u think nawaz sharif or ne1 else in parliament cares abt judiciary? if u do really think that! truly ur blinded by hate..just wait a couple of weeks there is an article coming out in Time mag abt the amount of funding nawaz has put in GEO and other media to start this campaign of hate..geo cares only abt money!n nawaz sharif is actin like a kid! he only wants iftekhar in place so he cld get a supreme court ruling for a thrid tenure..so he can make Raiwand II or something of the sort..get ur facts straight…n stop accusing without any knwoledge.

    teeth maestro do u really work for PML-N?

  • Aamir pakistani |

    @spill the beans
    dear i feel sorry for u.coz u r even not able to diffrenciate between thories n facts..
    fact are those wich is proved by some authorities,
    while theories are some 1’s sayings..etc/
    u r talikng about theory but i m giving u fact..
    r u aware of the fact that pakistan is atomic power,n man responsible(not solely) for such a great achievment is NAWAZ,do u know the fact that he was alone feels the pressure of USA as well as all countries,do u know the fact that he refused to recieve amoount against not to blast?
    n do u know that CJ IFTIKHAR is the man who stand first in time in d history of PAKISTAN against a millatary dictator n is still suffring…dont u see this great example of sacrifies?…..
    i have a lot more to say… but i think if u dont believe such facts n still considers urself as an idiot,what should i say….
    stop barking on the people of Pakistan the great nation of all time….

  • spill the beans! |

    nawaz can’t even spell atomic!god ur so follishly blinded by ur hate tht its useless i guess ull really get to know in less than a year what is goin to happen..and how much respect nawaz-the-bald-egg holds for judiciary(remeber the fiasco with supreme court in which PML N workers were jumpin on court benches and threatening the chief justice? ofocurse not u guys hve very very short memories..) and free media!im not even goin to comment after all i heard u can make monkey laugh..nawaz responsible for atomic power god! even god is scratching his head up there at this one..take care bro ull really need it!

  • Aamir |

    @spill the beans!
    no comments on your thought coz
    “ager kuta bhonk raha ho tu uskay samnay bhonknay nahi lag jatay”
    keep on barkings my dear ****only some of people like u are left in Pakistan,INSHALLAH they will b kicked out soon….so try to save ur a** rather then creating mischeives…

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Dear Aamir sb,
    One who has already spilled his beans is just beating the bush nothing else. People like him are always there to resist against the Postive, let him say whatever he says you are right that few are left and that too a very few they will be facing the consiquences soon INSHALLAH.
    PAKISTAN IS IN MAKING ONCE AGAIN WE WILL SEE POSITIVE CHANGES INSHALLAH.