Protests and Protests
Protests and protestation seem to have become a part of our daily life. Be it the lawyers, doctors, political parties, labourers and factory workers or students all throng the streets and not only block the traffic but also most of the time resort to causing damage to the public and private property like burning of the vehicles and buses, damaging the traffic signals and sign boards and even looting and vandalizing the private properties and businesses etc. Strange as it may seem, the strike is called for some act of blasphemy committed in a far off foreign land but we burn and damage our own national properties in protest of it!! Could there be anything more brainless than it?! At the same time do we realize that striking work for a single day in Karachi alone causes a loss of 3.15 billion rupees? By the same token it would be at least 10 billion rupees for the entire country. Can our already weak economy afford to bear and sustain such a huge loss?
Anyway, now that our leaders and even the govt. do not have vision and or the realization of the gravity of the losses caused by such strikes and protestations, let’s learn to live by them. I suggest a sizeable area – say a park, a Press Club, exterior of the National and Provincial Assembly buildings etc. – appropriate for the type and the nature of the protest be earmarked where all protesting persons could gather at the given time and date to register their protest peacefully and in a disciplined manner. However, if such a manner of protest doesn’t bear fruit, then the protestors could stage sit-in strikes there and if further needed do the Gherao of the place till their grievances are tended to. The protestors must not resort to any vandalism or cause damage to any private or public property. No roads and traffic should be blocked as the essential work of the state must go on unhampered. No one should die in the ambulance f or being able to reach the hospital in time.
Let’s develop the culture of peaceful but effective protestation against all that we do not approve of collectively.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)