Audiences at the Jaun Elia Lawn of the Karachi Arts Council enjoyed the response of former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani after journalist Mazhar Abbas asked him who was “basically” in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who had opposed his candidacy against Sadiq Sanjrani in 2018 for another three years. Rabbani replied with a smile: “Only my luck!” And then everyone laughed together.
They were on stage for a session entitled ‘In Quest of Democracy’ as part of the Sindh Literature Festival on Sunday afternoon.
Abbas started the discussion by asking Rabbani whether what they did to Federal Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh during the Senate elections happened to them during the vote for the chair of the upper house.
He replied that since it was a tight contest – the government had 49 senators and the opposition had 51 – they were already cautious, and then the discovery of four spy cameras hidden around the polling station revealed that the hidden forces had done their job. “Seeing the climax of the struggle for democracy is shameful, more than anything.”
Abbas countered that the same could be said about the video scandal of Ali Haider Gillani, son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, who suffered a setback against Sanjrani in
Selection of the chairman of the senate.
Rabbani replied that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had faced internal differences in ticketing, so PPP could not blame it.
On the basis of the profiles of the two speakers, the lecture provides a critical analysis of the country’s current political situation, where the ongoing struggle between the opposition and the treasurer also appears to be a struggle between pro-establishment and pro. -democratic power.
Referring to past incidents in which the PPP and other political forces united under the umbrella of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have compromised with the establishment, Abbas said that politicians have given room to the state to interfere with who will be public. looking to bring democracy in this country.
Rabbani replied that there is a fine line between compromise and reform, between strategy and political struggle. “Politicians have made mistakes. Everyone makes it. We have to become aware of it and then move forward. But political movements cannot progress without the support of other stakeholders, ”he said, adding that the culture of resistance in society had run out mainly due to the destruction of academic freedom.
Abbas immediately asked what happened to the student union, at least the PPP whose government in Sindh could revive them for the sake of democracy. Rabbani admitted that it was their fault, despite a recommendation from the upper house, and the union should be allowed to function immediately.
The journalist moderator then raised another question, asking why the 18th amendment champion could not apply his formula in Sindh, which has been in power for the last 13 consecutive years.
Rabbani said that it was because of a clash between centralist and federalist thinking in Islamabad. “You may have heard voices about amending laws to limit provincial powers under the pretext of covering up defense budgets and loan repayments,” he said.
“[Ironically,] Sindh has not received the new NFC [National Finance Commission] Awards for the past 11 years, and I have to say that if the Center can’t give more, it should refrain from taking the leftovers. “
Abbas asked if political parties continue to make compromises with the government, what could be the way forward for democracy to win in this country. Rabbani replied that until there is a resolution to enforce the trichotomy of power between the parties, no change is seen.
“Politics must revolve around principles, not around personalities; ideological political formulas are getting stronger especially in Third World countries. So the parties have to sit down together and decide unanimously that they will make no more compromises on the constitution and firmly oppose the army’s interference in political affairs. “
Citing a decision given by Rabbani as Senate chairman that the process in parliament cannot be challenged anywhere, Abbas asked what the justification was for the PDM’s decision to oppose Sanjrani’s election.
Rabbani replied: “Here, the problem is not related to irregularities in the trial process but with the revocation of voter rights, so Article 69 does not apply here.”
Regarding the PDM meeting on March 26 in Islamabad, Abbas asked what the expected outcome would be, would they return after sitting down or whether the movement would go further to realize their goals, as alliance chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that without resigning from the assembly, action anything is tantamount to benefiting the government.
Rabbani said that the movement went further with constant struggle because things didn’t change overnight, so there was no immediate result. Regarding Rehman’s comments, he said the general chairmen of political parties in PDM would meet on Tuesday to discuss such matters.
Referring to Invisible People, an anthology of short stories written by Rabbani, Abbas asked his thoughts on the current state of affairs in the country.
The author says that the situation is getting worse. When asked why he ended up choosing a military court despite his emotional opposition, he replied: “I am not morally strong enough to resign.”
The journalist commented that democracy is practice, and asked Rabbani why the PPP, which boasts a history of struggle against dictatorship, did not implement it in Sindh. The former Senate chairman replied that he was already on the fringes of the party, and if the moderator wanted him to leave, he would answer that question. And then everyone laughed