March 20, 2002
PAKISTAN: Political parties and civil society organisations join
hands against violence and target killings
KARACHI: The country's major political parties, trade union
and non-government organisations and concerned citizens came
together on a joint platform to unequivocally condemn the
growing violence and targeted killings of doctors,
particularly in Karachi, with serious nation-wide
The meeting, convened by the Joint Action Committee for Peace
at PMA House on Wednesday, March 20, resolved to support the
doctors' countrywide strike on March 30, and urged people
from different segments of society to unite for a broad-based
struggle against violence.
The meeting demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister
for his failure to implement the policies outlined by the
government, and for the implementation of a major campaign
for de-weaponisation of society.
The meeting agreed that killings of doctors, lawyers, judges
and other sections of society is aimed at instigating fear
and retaliation, and further demanded that root cause of the
problem be checked. This root cause was identified as the
forces of reaction and regression, that have gained strength
since Pakistan's involvement in the Afghan war during Gen.
Ziaul Haq's time. It was demanded that any kind of propaganda
that is used to incite hatred and violence be firmly checked
by the unity of the people.
It was resolved that the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf
should refrain from lip service and take concrete steps to
apprehend the culprits and contain violence. This
ineffectiveness has practically encouraged sectarianism,
although the current spate of killings falls in the realm of
It was resolved that the judiciary must play its due and
responsible role in curbing this menace. The meeting
condemned what was termed as Pakistan's 'shadow government'
and demanded that the role of the intelligence agencies be re-
The meeting condemned the attack on a church in Islamabad as
well as yesterday's killings of religious scholars in Lahore.
With Easter coming up on March 31, the meeting expressed
concern at the safety of Pakistan's Christians, and asked
political parties to take up this issue from their own
platforms as well, in order to isolate the sectarian elements.
The meeting expressed sorrow at the deaths of two young
female students in Karachi due to rash driving, and demanded
that the culprits be apprehended. It noted that most
commercial transport is owned by members of the police force,
which is one reason why such negligence goes unpunished.
Those present at the meeting included Raza Rabbani, general
secretary PPP, Dr Farooq Sattar, Kunwar Idris, and Khalid bin
Waleed (MQM), Mairaj Mohammad Khan, general secretary PTI,
Yusuf Mastikhan, general secretary (National Workers Party),
Abdul Khalid Junejo (JSM), Wakil Swati (ANP), Nazim Haji
(Reformers), Omar Baloch (LPP), Ayub Qureshi (PTUF), Sartaj
Khan and Dr Riaz Ahmed (International Socialist Party),
Ghulam Akbar (Democratic Labour Federation), besides Dr Habib
Soomro, general secretary PMA Karachi, and Dr Tipu Sultan,
president PMA. Various non-government organisations were
represented by Hilda Saeed (Shirkat Gah), Zahid Farooqi
(Urban Resource Centre), Anwar Rashid (OPP), Admiral (rtd)
Hasnain, Hameed Maker (Helpline Trust), Abdul Hai (HRCP),
columnist M.B. Naqvi, Amir Hamza Marwat (Pakhtoon Fikri
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