Two demonstrations by young people protesting various aspects of the American presence in Pakistan were staged in the city on Sunday. The organisers of both protests vowed to hold much larger rallies next month.
Around 250 people gathered at Liberty roundabout under the banner of a group called the Pakistan Future Forum to protest at the Raymond Davis killings. They gave speeches condemning American policies and expressing sympathy with Davis’ alleged victims. Some emphasised that they condemned American policies but were not trying to incite anti-Americanism.
Advocate Adnan Ahsan Khan, a member of the forum, said that this was the third meeting of the group, organised via Facebook and Twitter, and each meeting had been larger than the previous ones. “Today’s meeting was to let the members of the forum raise their concerns, decide the future agenda and delegate duties,” he said
He said 30,000 people had pledged online to attend the next meeting, planned for March 3, and he expected that number to grow to 50,000. He said that the next target of the group’s protest would be the present government system. “We will change the culture of corruption and bribery,” he said.
Some 150 people calling themselves the Pakistan Revolution Movement gathered at the Lahore Press Club, in another protest organised on Facebook. The protesters, who included Khaksaar Tehreek activists, chanted slogans demanding that all American spies be kicked out of Pakistan and marched towards the US consulate.
The protesters demanded that Davis be tried and hanged in Pakistan and that the government not try to grant him diplomatic immunity.
They vowed to hold a bigger rally on March 23 when they would march on Islamabad and urged young people, particularly fresh graduates with professional degrees, to join them.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2011.