Our protest culture – a national shame

Like most of the countries of the modern world, our constitution of 1973 gives the fundamental right to protest. Indeed, protest is necessary for the nourishment of a sensible society and without it, a culture of tolerance and accountability is beyond the imagination.

Throughout the course of history, people fought for their rights and set great example for permission to question. But there is a difference between developed and developing nations in this regards.

Developing nations like India and Pakistan just copied the west and put the protest permission as fundamental right in their constitutions. West on the parallel approach had not only given the right to question but invested on the ethical training of their citizens and eventually, their citizens devised respectable and peaceful ways to show their discomfort against government actions.

Here in our country, the caretakers of early decades did not care for infusing the spirit of tolerance, truth, sensibility in our society. At last, outcome of the negligence came in the form of non tax culture, corruption, extremism and violent sense to protest.

From Mall Road to Numaesh Churangi, people have made it compulsory to block the rushed areas so that they could get the required media attention. The protester will not care for the patients, ambulances, people who have to reach office and students going for exams.

On 27th of December 2007, the angry party workers of PPP had burnt dozens of engines of Pakistan railway. The railways still did not find the solution to overcome losses for several years.

Unfortunately, in past, doctors of our country became the cause of death instead of saving lives when they boycott their practices in government hospitals for salaries and promotions.

Religious protester especially left no stone unturned to block the traffic and to write the slogans on walls. Sometimes, their demands are so unrealistic that it is beyond the jurisdiction of government to address the issues.

In law department, it has become a fashion to boycott the judicial business in case of any death of judicial person or any incident against lawyers. Lawyers, who know the constitution better than us, beat the judges; lock them in their rooms for decision in their favour. Is this the way to show your discomfort against a decision?

Political and religious parties always choose the busiest spots of the cities to show their strength.

The government is equally responsible for such situation as government would not turn ears to the demands or to the queries if the protestors wouldn’t block the roads and will not prolong their sit-ins outside the government offices. In police stations, people are not listened to; in hospitals, they are being misbehaved and we have seen women giving births on hospitals’ stairs. On roads, they are the victim of VVIP protocol. How can you expect peaceful respect when police threw out the rape victims from police office and provides protocol to the landlords and culprits? The need is of justice and respect; otherwise don’t expect non-violent exercises from them.

Government just tries to solve the issues temporarily by giving them assurances until teachers and doctors have to shut their doors for common man against the government policies.

We could have put blame on education as some parties use low age children and uneducated followers in the protests to disrupt the situation but when we see the doctors and lawyers protesting in a way like goons – we have to reconsider our approach.

It is the right of people to ask or to demand justice for them but they should protest within the sphere of dignity. Blocking roads, burning tyres, writing slogans will actually damage your own country and your fellow countrymen will have to suffer.

History is overflowed with examples of peaceful protests that resulted in candid victories like in Soviet Union. Three former Soviet Union countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithonia demanded independence in 1986 but Moscow blatantly rejected their legitimate demand. People opted for peaceful demonstrations and started to sing their native nationalist songs, outlawed by the soviet occupiers, in the streets. After four years, and death of 14 people, at last they were given independence.

The government should make specific points in cities for protest and through law-making, all the government departments can be bound to answer the queries of the people against them within twenty four hours of the protest. Punishment for the negligence should be specified in the law. At the same time, any kind of protests in any busy areas should be outlawed and police must be asked to take firm action.

The African American civil right activist and “the first lady of civil rights”, Rosa Parks once said that it is better to protest than to accept injustice. It is crime to remain silent on wrongdoings of government and on your rights but the way you raise your voice gives the impression of your inner strength and how sensible and respectable you are, so think on it.

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