Statement: Citizens for Democracy

Several concerned citizens of Pakistan drafted this statement, endorsed by the signatories below.  It was published in various newspapers on Sept 24. See report in Dawn and at South Asian Media Net. Update: advertisements in Jang and News today, Sept 27, 2010. Please endorse if you agree.

Sept 23, 2010

We the Citizens for Democracy:

  • Concerned about an all-sided institutional, financial and societal destabilization in a terrorism-ridden country reeling under the unprecedented havoc caused by the floods;
  • Alarmed at strategic and political uncertainty, reinforcing hopelessness and chaos, due to an ongoing power-struggle among various institutions of the state;
  • Reiterate our full faith in constitutional, democratic and representative system that ensures freedoms and fundamental rights, an independent judiciary, a free and responsible media and above all sovereignty of our people reflected through federal and provincial legislatures;
  • Emphasize the need for evolving a broadest national consensus among all stakeholders on major national issues, such as (a) terrorism, (b) economy (macro-economic policy, state corporations, taxation, non-development expenditure, energy, rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood and terrorism affected), (c) foreign policy, (d) national security and neighbors; and (e) transparent and accountable governance and across the board accountability;

We are of the considered view:

  1. The future of the federation and our nation-state lies in democracy and continuation of constitutional, federal and democratic setup while submitting to the will of the people which is represented by the elected legislatures and governments responsible to them;
  2. The state must retain its writ across the land without in any way allowing state or non-state actors to undermine it, nor must it allow any autonomous sanctuary undermining its sovereignty and international obligations;
  3. All organs of the state and media must perform their functions in accordance with the letter and spirit of the 1973 Constitution, democratic norms and avoid transgressing their institutional limits while respecting the mandate of the people;
  4. Both the state and society can face up to the challenges of natural calamities, terrorism, lawlessness, economic meltdown, poor-governance, human and physical security.
  5. Promoting the ideals set by the Charter of Democracy and building upon the good work done by the 18th Amendment, the major political parties and the stakeholders must agree on a national agenda on, at least, five major issues mentioned earlier.

We call upon:

  • All organs of the state to work within the parameters of the constitution and frustrate any effort at change through undemocratic and unconstitutional means while remaining within their limits, respecting each others’ legitimate constitutional space, people’s mandate and ensuring independence of judiciary, a free media and a transparent and accountable governance;
  • All major political parties and stakeholders must sit together to evolve a National Agenda on (a) Terrorism, (b) Economy (macro-economic policy, state corporations, taxation, non-development expenditure, energy, rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood and terrorism affected), (c) Foreign Policy, (d) National Security and Neighbors; and (e) Transparent and Accountable Governance and Across the Board Accountability;
  • All state and non-state actors, institutions, political parties, civil society and above all federating units must join their forces to take the country out of its current predicaments on short, mid, and long term bases for peace and prosperity within and without.

Signed By

Citizens for Democracy on 23rd September 2010

Sartaj Aziz, Former Finance and Foreign Minister
Ali Ahmed Kurd, former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA)
Justice (r) Tariq Mahmood, former president SCBA
I.A. Rehman, Director Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
Hina Jillani, Secretary General HRCP
Justice (r) Malik Saeed Hassan
Gen (r) Talat Masood
Dr A.H. Nayyar, educationist
Najam Sethi, Editor, The Friday Times & Secretary General South Asia Media Commission,
M. Ziauddin, Executive Editor, Express Tribune,
Athar Abbas, Editor Express,
Amir Mehmood, General Secretary Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE)
Saida Fazal, Resident Editor, Business Recorder
Rashed Rahman, Editor Daily Times
Mehmal Sarfaraz, Deputy Editor, Daily Times
Nusrat Javeed, Director Dunya TV
Nazir Naji, Columnist Jang
Munoo Bhai, Columnist Jang
S.M. Masood, Advocate Supreme Court
Justice (r) Malik Saeed Hassan
Zahid Hussain, senior journalist
Abbas Rashid, Senior journalist
Iftikhar Ahmed, senior journalist, Geo TV
Babar Ayaz, Senior journalist
Salman Raja, advocate
Ghazi Salahuddin, senior columnist, The News
Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkatgah
Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi, senior analyst and educationist
Khaled Ahmed, Director South Asia Media School
Beena Sarwar, Editor Special Projects, Jang Group (Aman ki Asha)
Dr. Jabbar Khattak, Editor Awami Awaz
Syeda Abida Hussain, Former MNA and ambassador
Tariq Chaudhry, Controller Aaj TV
Agha Nasir, Geo TV
Afzal Khan, senior journalist
Anjum Rasheed, former editor Jang Lahore
G.N.Mughal, senior journalist
Khalid Faruki, editor Awaz Lahore, Jang Group
Nazir Leghari, editor Awam Karachi, Jang Group
Khalid Chowdhry, editor Aaj Kal
Nayyar Ali Dada, architecht
Mehmood Mirza, author

6 Responses

  1. Should also add that the state be based on the principles of Mr. Jinnah the founder of this country whom we have conveniently forgotten. His address to the First Constituent Assembly should be the basis of framing laws in this country.


    • Yes! I support you whole-heartedly as the Second Amendment to the so called Constitution has corrupted it practically to become a ‘takfeeri fatwah’, a blatant negation of the Quide Azam’s vision of Pakistan, as outlined in his speech of 11/8.

      Of late the hawkish extremists seem to have overtaken the country rendering the state and the government totally ineffectual. In the circumstances talking of sovereignty is meaningless, only a ploy to prevent the democratic forces of the world to help us against the foreign inspired and supported extremists.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by beena sarwar, Elie Levasseur and Rai M. Azlan Shahid, Mehmal Sarfraz. Mehmal Sarfraz said: indeed! I signed it too 🙂 RT @beenasarwar: Good statement: Citizens for Democracy #Pakistan #Politics #democracy […]


  3. AOA
    THANK YOU,, THANK YOU.. For Posting this feature… It’s a breath of fresh air who does not at all support this MONKEY CIRCUS… it’s like every solution leads to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.. which is not at all the case… we have to stop this Punjabi politics of supremacy… or we will repeat everything that has already been written in history of this country… I SUPPORT AND PRAY FOR US ALL TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING GOOD AND RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT OF HISTORY…


  4. I would like to add my name to the signatories, and will circulate it to the diaspora here (in Washington). If you had reached out to others you would probably have obtained many more signatures. Can you think of a process to do so? Maybe a broader signature campaign aiming to get 100,000 signatures for a start.And how are you folks ensuring that the statement reaches its intended audience?


  5. Every crisis has a silver lining. While the floods have precipitated a crisis of confidence, the reticence of the international community to pick up the tab for rehabilitation and reconstruction could force people of Pakistan toward greater self-reliance. It is time to stop looking across the seas for people to blame or governments to come to our rescue. Maybe this will force us to rethink and renegotiate the social contract between the rulers and the ruled.
    The floods have also conclusively proven that whether we like it or not, the fates of our people and our lands are inextricably linked. No province was spared the onslaught of the Indus, proving that ecological interconnectedness trumps the divisiveness of our politics. We had better learn to live together because climate change is likely to bring even greater challenges to the lands of the Indus. We had better get ready for those challenges quickly. International bailouts are likely to be even less available next time around.


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