A Rs8,000 increase in minimum wage, introduction of agriculture tax, free education up to grade 10, expansion of the tax base, and a ban on militant wings of political parties. These are some of the things on Sunni Ittehad Council’s election agenda.
Sahibzada Haji Fazle Karim, SIC chairman, announced his party’s agenda while addressing Istehkam-i-Pakistan conference at Dhobi Ghat on Thursday.
More than 20,000 people attended the rally. The majority were drawn from a chain of madrassas being run by the Ahle Sunnat. A number of students of seminaries from adjoining districts including Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Chiniot also participated.
Karim also promised to increase the land allotment to landless peasants to 25 acres. Currently it is 12.5 acres. He also said that he would introduce agriculture tax, which would be applicable on anyone who owns more than 25 acres of land.
Other points on the party’s agenda include provision of two-room flats to the shelterless, elimination of corruption and nepotism, supremacy of the rule of law and introduction of Nizam-i-Mustafa for making the a welfare state.
Speaking at the rally, Haji Fazle Karim said that the SIC will increase the minimum wage to Rs15,000 per month. He said that 2.1 million landless peasants and farmers will benefit from the land reforms the party planned on introducing. He also promised that the Kala Bagh Dam would be among the dams the SIC would build to deal with the power crisis.
He said that he would “restore the sovereignty and dignity of the country by curbing the US’ interference in our economic, foreign and defence issues”.
Free healthcare, implementation of the National Judicial Policy, introduction of judicial reforms in line with Islamic jurisprudence, establishment of High Court benches at Faisalabad and other divisional headquarters, are also on the party’s agenda.
The SIC chairman said that religious minorities would be protected and women would be given their rights according to Islam.
The conference also adopted a number of resolutions in which it called for the constitution of “United Nations of Islamic countries” on the pattern of the UN, a military force of Islamic countries in line with Nato forces, immediate withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, putting Hussain Haqqani’s name on the Exit Control List, and an independent probe into the memo scandal.
Sahibzada Fazle Karim called the people behind suicide bombings and other terrorist activities “fasadis” who had killed more than 40,000 innocent people. “They are defaming Islam, which is a religion of peace, and equality. It’s clearly stated [in Holy Quran] that killing one man is like killing the entire humanity,” he said.
The SIC chairman said that the party believes in the supremacy of Quran and Sunnah but will not allow sectarianism and terrorism in the name of religion.
Fazle Karim also condemned the government’s failure in bringing those responsible for funding terrorist attacks to justice. “Most of them are still roaming freely, under the patronage of various militant groups,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.
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