A businessman and political activist has threatened to launch a “fast unto death” against corruption in the country and military presence in the cities.
Raja Jahangir Akhtar, 68, has a history of raising his voice against abuses in the name of security, having been jailed by military dictator General Ziaul Haq back in 1983.
Incidentally, Akhtar announced his hunger strike before Anna Hazare in India, but postponed it to maintain the sanctity of Ramazan. Akhtar will now start his strike on Sept 12. He is hoping that his protest will lead to the introduction of an anti-corruption bill in Pakistan’s parliament along the lines of the legislation sought by Hazare across the border. “Pakistan should be a welfare state, not a national security state,” Akhtar said.
The protest will try to pressure Pakistani politicians into introducing an anticorruption law and to ensure cuts in military spending. “Remove corruption to end poverty” is the slogan of Akhtar’s campaign.
Akhtar says he hopes to draw attention to the issue so that an anti-corruption bill will be introduced in the National Assembly, and that funds will be directed away from Pakistan’s military budget and towards tackling issues that affect the population at large, like the nation’s beleaguered power sector. “Our borders are safe but politicians are responsible for creating a different impression,” he said.
Pakistan is a developing country, and in our country the two most important problems are corruption and the high percentage of expenditure that goes on our army budget, Akhtar noted.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.
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