LAHORE: Some 150 youths gathered at the Liberty roundabout on Sunday in a protest organised via social networking site Facebook, to demand that Pakistan scrap its democratic political system and replace it with an “Islamic” system of governance.
It was the third consecutive week that Youth 4 Change had organised a protest “against the democratic system and the American hegemony in Pakistan”. The protesters chanted slogans in support of Islam. They held placards and banners denouncing America and in support of Dr Afia Siddiqui, and in support for the protests in Cairo at Tahrir (Liberty) Square.
The protesters demanded the closure of all US embassies and consulates in Pakistan, an end to the war in Afghanistan, that Raymond Davis to be tried under Islamic law, that Dr Siddiqui be released, and that the armed forces of Pakistan obey Allah and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and unite the Muslim Ummah under one caliph.
Junaid Khan, an engineering student at the National University of Science and Technology, said the protest was meant to push for change. “In Pakistan, democracy and dictatorship have been tried and failed. Now it is time to bring in an Islamic system. That is the only way for Pakistan to progress,” he said.
Farooq Qazi, who works in advertising, said it was time for Pakistan to stand up to America and protect its sovereignty.
He said that Raymond Davis case was not the core issue between the two countries, but that Pakistan was dependent on the US for aid.
He said that the Islamic system had been shown to work over the last 1,300 years. “Islam provides policies for all kinds of business. It cares for the rich and the poor,” he said.
Qazi added that there were a lot of misconceptions about Islam as a violent religion, but it was actually quite caring. “We should try an Islamic system,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2011.