‘The national issues can only be resolved by collective efforts; therefore, it is of utmost importance to have a national government. In the technological advance era, old system of ballot paper causes corruption. It is necessary to transform the system and educate voter. Democracy can be strengthened by spreading literacy.’ These views were expressed by intellectuals at Shura Hamdard Karachi meeting. The meeting was held yesterday on the theme: “Coming general elections, peoples’ expectations, code of conduct and Voters’ responsibilities”, presided over by Justice (Rtd) Haziqul Khairi at a local club.
Speaking on the occasion, Commodore (Rtd) Sadeed Anwar Malik said that the problems of the country were so complicated and huge that they could be solved only through joint efforts by forming a national government involving all big political parties, provided they set aside their party interests and gave preference to supreme national interests.
‘It is just possible that a ‘hung parliament’ would be emerged as a result of general elections on 25th July and in such case it would be easy to form a national government at the center, which is the need of the hour’, he said adding that whenever elections held in the country social polarizing always increased and that’s what happening now, but it was not a matter of worry for if democracy is continued everything would come on its right track, he maintained.
He said it was imperative that elections should be held fair, free and transparent on appointed hour and if someone cried for ‘dhandli’ (rigging) after the elections, he must be dealt with iron hands, so that people could work peacefully for the development of the country. Weak representative government was better than the strong un-representative government, when Pakistan was dismembered in 1971 an unrepresentative government was at the helm of the country’s affairs, he added.
Mr. Usama Qureshi, Managing Director and CEO, Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan said that democracy was the destiny of Pakistan as the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah answering to a question while he was giving an interview to an Australian newspaper, just after the creation of Pakistan, what would be the system of government in Pakistan? said: “There will be democracy and the democratic system of government in Pakistan”. ‘Therefore, democracy is inevitable for the country and it should be strengthened through the promotion of education as most of our voters are illiterate and the standard of literacy is that who can write his name only is considered to be literate,’ he added.
‘It is ironic that the voter right of a literate and illiterate are equal, having same weightage and this is a challenging situation especially when the literacy rate is coming down day by day in the country,’ he said, adding: ‘A tremendous flow of information is seen in the country and everyone has easy access to information, however concocted and misleading information is also there which is creating confusion and in such case it becomes our duty to provide necessary guidance to the voters,’ he contended and advised the voters to ask about the previous promises, made by the candidates in last elections when they approach them for votes, as it happened somewhere in the country.
It has been observed that a mass marketing campaign of paid contents was going on TV Channels which could put negative impacts on public opinion, so it must be controlled and election commission should look into the matter, he asserted.
‘In the age of modern technology, our country is following the old ballot paper system for general elections, as NADRA has complete computerized data of all people of the country, this old system can be shifted to bio-metric system which would pave the way of free, fair and transparent elections, Mr. Qureshi concluded.
Pervez Sadiq said that we should go forward with long and short term planning to solve the country’s problems. Al-though our people are illiterate but they have sense of good and bad, he added.
General (Rtd) Sikandar Hayat said that the success of democracy depended on politicians and our politicians are untrained, so they have failed in nation building.
Prof. Muhammad Rafi said when votes of a professor and an illiterate are equal how can nation building is possible in the country.
Zafar Iqbal lamented that this important theme should have been discussed two months back in order to educate the voters adequately. Tenure of National Assembly should be reduced to three years and nobody be allowed to contest election more than two times, he suggested.
Prof. Dr. Malahat Sherwani said that voters’ sense to choose right candidate played an important role in the success of democry. A big number of young voters were taking part in coming general elections, so the survival of democracy would be in the hands of youths, she added.
Prof. Dr. Shabibul Hasan, Vice Chancellor, Hamdard University was of the view that people, including voters, were in dire need of a thorough training since they didn’t have good understanding to distinguish between right and wrong. If a success is made in creating good human beings in our society the Islamic system of values would naturally take place in the country, he maintained.
Dr. Abubakar sheikh, Ms Huma Baig and Anwar Aziz Jakartawalla also spoke.
Shura in a unanimous resolution has condoled the deaths of humarist Mushtaq Ahmed Yousafi; former Pakistani Ambassador, Mahdi Masud and Mian abdul Rehman husband of Shura Lahore’s speaker, Bushra Rehman, who died recently.