For the people: ‘Mairaj fought for a unique idea of democracy’

Seminar held to pay tribute to progressive student leader


Muhammad Shahzad February 11, 2017

LAHORE: Mairaj Muhammad Khan struggled against three martial laws for his idea of social participatory democracy that is different from the Western concept, said Arshad Butt, former ambassador of Norway and a comrade of Mairaj during his stint as the National Students Federation (NSF) leader.

He was speaking at a seminar organised at the Alhamra Hall on Saturday to pay tribute to Mairaj, a progressive student leader and founding member of PPP as well as the founding general-secretary of the PTI.

A book containing articles on Mairaj by different writers and compiled by Arshad was also presented at the event, where a large number of left-wing political activists, writers and intellectuals were present.

As a student leader, Arshad said, Mairaj challenged General Ayub Khan from the NSF platform when no political party dared to stand or speak against the dictator.

He led the movement against Ayub and fought against General Yayha Khan’s dictatorship and also played a leading role in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against General Ziaul Haq’s regime.

Abid Hussain Abid, a member of the Progressive Writers Association, said that politics at present had become the politics of scandals. “No political party is talking about the problems of workers or the common people,” he said, giving the example of the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation that rendered thousands of workers jobless.

He said the judicial system had collapsed and courts were freeing people after two years of their executions. “How pathetic it is that it takes over a decade to decide a case,” he said, “Was the law formulated by djinns that it takes judges decades to interpret?”

Abid said he was impressed by Mairaj because he talked and struggled for the rights of people. Dr Laal Khan, a progressive leader belonging to Mazdoor Jedojuhad said people could learn many things from Mairaj, whose one of the most daring steps was to resist and fight for the role of PPP when it betrayed from its socialist agenda.

Ehsan Wain, a leader belonging to the Awami National Party said that Mairaj fought for the common people.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2017.

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