Anti-graft activism: Activist threatens hunger strike unto death

Two most important problems are corruption and the high percentage of expenditure that goes on our army budget

Express August 24, 2011


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.


Maleeha | 11 years ago | Reply

I fail to understand why the Anna's 'movement' is so eulogized here. I wont go into the details of my argument but request everyone to read the following articles kindly.

Praful Bidawi- Overruling Democracy

Arundhati Roy- I'd rather not be Anna

Talib | 11 years ago | Reply

In trying to defend yourself, you attack my criticism by trying to put words in my mouth. I only pointed out what seemed to me as factual misrepresentations in your writing.

You wrote that Akhtar announced his hunger strike "before Anna Hazare." I challenged that as Hazare's campaign has been going on since April of this year: you responded with links to a press release from July. Last I checked, July comes after April, not "before."

My question at the end of my in initial comment was for you to provide more information, which you did and in doing so, thus proved that your statement in your article was indeed incorrect.

I do not view the hungers strikes on either side of the border as competitions...but you seem to, especially by making the false statement in the first place. Nor am I trying to diminish anyone's courageous public stand. Both Hazare and Akhtar have long personal histories of activism. Besides hunger strikes are nothing new: they weren't invented this year by either man, and that fact doesn't make either man's campaign less powerful or important. What is wrong with taking inspiration from someone else's bravery and sacrifice? Are the uprisings in Bahrain and Syria "insulting" and "patronizing" because they occurred after those in Tunisia and Egypt?

Even if one hunger strike did not inspire the other and the two events are 100% mutually exclusive, why is it insulting for one noble person to be inspired by another noble person?

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