PAT Chairman Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has said that the verdicts handed down by the military courts broke the back of terrorism. He said that if the duration of the courts was not extended, terrorism will return to haunt the nation. He said that the steps required to be undertaken by the civilian side have not been taken since the formation of the military courts with the result that the National Action Plan has been gathering dust in the files. He said that if the parliamentary parties do not craft consensus on the need for extension in the tenure of military courts, it will inflict incalculable loss on the nation.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that we staged a long march for electoral reforms in January 2014 and drew the attention of the whole nation to the rigged electoral system, adding that the same questions still remain. He said that Pakistan’s democracy stands at the lower rung of the 112th position due to electoral culture of bulldozing the public opinion and the increasing role of wealth in electoral politics.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri expressed these views while talking to the office bearers of the local chapters of Peshawar, Mansehra, Haripur, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Nowshera and Upper Dir. MWL leaders from Sindh Interior also called on Dr Qadri under the leadership of MWL President Mrs. Farah Naz. Those who met included Dr Nighat, and Dr Tooba.
The PAT Chairman said that the parliamentary parties that are opposed to extension in the tenure of the military courts should change their decision in the larger national interest. He said that if the governments had focused on reforming the criminal justice system and increased the capability of the law enforcement agencies during the past four years, the need of extending the tenure of the courts would not have arisen in the first place. He said that the NAP was the most comprehensive anti-terror plan that fell prey to internal politics and lack of resources. He said that the military courts handed down death sentences to 200 hardcore terrorists and some of the decisions were appealed in the superior courts but nowhere were the violation of the basic principles of justice reported. He said that so far 185 cases are pending before the military courts and their tenure needs to be extended to decide on those cases.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri stated that it is said that the incidence of terrorism has decreased by 41%, which means that 59% of terrorism network is still present in our midst, adding that it is not an encouraging situation and a lot will have to be done to eradicate this menace. He said that the people of the KP are patriotic, peaceful and courageous. They stood shoulder to shoulder with their armed forces in the fight against terrorism and rendered exemplary sacrifices for the defence of the motherland. They gave the Pakistani nation the gift of peace. He iterated that we would not let their sacrifices go in vain.
Meanwhile talking to the senior party leaders, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri has said that the PAT along with the educated youth and the people of Pakistan staged a long march which was aimed at bringing the electoral laws under the Constitution and open the doors of the Parliament on the middle and lower classes. He said that the reforms are still awaited today. Even today, the candidates from councilor to MP levels have to spend millions of rupees to contest an election. He said that unless the money factor is excluded from politics, the country cannot have real democracy.
Citing a British magazine, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that there are twenty countries of the world that enjoy ideal democracy, adding that Pakistan’s place is 112th in the list, whereas India is at no 41. He said unless the electoral system is people friendly and corruption-averse, exemplary democratic institutions will not be built.