Unveiling a new ‘10-point agenda’ on Sunday, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) President Dr Tahirul Qadri vowed to transfer power from the hands of ‘corrupt politicians to the people’.
“Democracy is a name for good governance… this [the current set-up] is not a real democracy because only a select few families are ruling the country,” Qadri told his supporters across the country via video link.
Thousands thronged the rallies in several cities of the country on Sunday to support Qadri’s demand for change. Major rallies were held in Rawalpindi and Lahore – an estimated 10,000 people of all ages from the Potohar region, Azad Kashmir and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa arrived in the garrison city to attend the gathering.
Addressing supporters, the PAT chief accused current parliamentarians – who he said had gained membership into Parliament by violating articles 62, 63, 213 and 218 of the Constitution – of stalling the implementation of articles 18, 25-A, and 37, which deal with the elimination of child labour, provision of compulsory education and equality of status of citizens.
He said both the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its main rival, the Pakistan Peoples Party, had availed three chances each to rule the country, “but no one bothered to implement these articles for the welfare of the people.”
“Real change can’t come under the existing Parliament, which was formed by violating the Constitution,” the PAT chief said. “An unconstitutional parliament cannot bring true democracy and cannot protect the basic rights of the people.”
Announcing that he will return to Pakistan ‘in the near future’, Qadri said he would remain in the country until he could “snatch power from the rulers and return it to the people.” He said he will announce a date for his return soon which will herald a ‘war between millions of revolutionary people and the corrupt rulers’.
“The revolution will mark the end of unemployment, provision of justice and establishment of true democracy.”
Sharing his plans for the country if his party was voted into power, Qadri said he would start by bringing all the money “looted by corrupt politicians and religious leaders, and stored in foreign banks,” back to Pakistan.
“There are 13 banks in Switzerland which protect the black money looted from Pakistanis. I have been able to get details from two of these banks, and they have $100 billion kept there by Pakistani politicians,” he said.“I will bring this money back to Pakistan,” the PAT chief added.
He also promised to implement tax reforms which would generate ‘revenue worth Rs2,000 billion annually’.
Talking about his vision for the country, Qadri said he will divide existing provinces, creating as many as 35 provinces in the country. “Every division will be turned into a province,” he said.
“I will make a separate Hazara province right after bringing about a revolution,” the PAT chief announced. He did not say anything about South Punjab and Bahawalpur, however.
Qadri said power would be transferred to the people through local bodies. He said 800 governments at different levels would be set up and would be run by the people of Pakistan directly. Talking about the tribal areas, he said 150 districts and 400 city and village governments will be set up.
Following his ‘revolution’, the state would provide electricity, education and health to all citizens, Qadri told his supporters. Police, he said, would be bound to register an FIR within three days. Union council courts will decide civil suits in six months and criminal cases in three months, he added.
Qadri said under his rule, there would be no cabinet and no funds for governors. He added that no prime minister or president would have legal immunity.
Speaking on militancy, he said he would eliminate extremism and terrorism and would reform the syllabus of religious seminaries.
Qadri said by maligning the ISI, some anti state elements were trying to remove a hurdle before their personal gains.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2014.