Universal Justice Network
P E N A N G S E C R E T A R I A T L O N D O N S E C R E T A R I A T
Citizens International Islamic Human Rights Commission
No.10 Jalan Masjid Negeri P O Box 598
11600 Penang Wembley HA9 7 XH
Malaysia United Kingdom
Tel/Fax: (604) 8284648 Tel: (+44) 20 8904 4222
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (+44) 20 8904 5183
5 July 2023
Ref: Open Appeal to General Asim Munir, Chief of Pakistan’s Armed Forces
We are friends of Pakistan who are concerned with the political and economic crisis facing the country. We were shocked to read in the media that Pakistan’s military has been cracking down on the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party to prevent him from participating in the elections due this year.
According to the New York Times [June 15th 2023] “Pakistan’s military has launched a pressure campaign that aims to hollow out former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party ahead of general elections this fall.
Throngs of his supporters have been arrested. Media columnists considered sympathetic to him have been intimidated. More than 100 of his key allies have left his party in recent weeks. Many party leaders are now in hiding and have complained that their relatives are being harassed and hounded by the police.”
The armed forces’ intervention in the political process of the country is completely unjustified and unconstitutional, violating the fundamental principles of democracy. Its duty is to protect the territory of the country from aggression and not to be king-makers in national politics.
Civilians are being tried in military courts and not civil courts for alleged violent acts. That is a mockery of the rule of law in a democracy. Press freedom has been curtailed. Journalists are not allowed to write freely, exposing the truth. Media channels are shut down for not supporting those in power. False charges, politically motivated, have been filed against journalists and maltreated.
According to an article in Global Village Space, “… the coalition government has embarked on a distinct confrontation with the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, blatantly violating orders of the court, disregarding the supremacy and respect of the institution and alleging biased inclinations within the judiciary favouring Mr Khan.
Consequently, this has ignited a divisive rift within the judiciary itself, amplifying the already volatile state of affairs.”
The disregard of rule of law and failure of the state to provide the basic needs of the people, save a small elite minority, has led some observers to write off Pakistan as a failed state, but, strangely, with a nuclear capability. Sadly, seventy-six years after the Partition leading to the creation of Pakistan, the vision of its founders that it would be a progressive, egalitarian democracy, embedded in Islamic values, has collapsed.
We have a country ridden with political corruption, abuse of power, vulgar opulence of the rich amidst the grinding poverty of the poor, violence and extremism.
The situation is dire with Pakistan’s economy on the precipice of collapse. Even before the massive floods that devastated half of the country, 33percent of people were unable to meet their basic needs, 41 percent of children had stunted growth and 80 percent of the population had no access to clean drinking water. The situation is much worse now after the floods: 33 million people have lost everything save their lives, 2 million families have been displaced, and 45 percent of the cropland has been washed away.
The foreign exchange reserves stand at a precarious $4.457 billion, equivalent to one month’s worth of imports. Inflation is at a historic high of 42 percent and the rupee has been depreciating. Exports are declining and there is insufficient foreign exchange reserves to pay for the imports. The coalition government is running to IMF for help but that will not resolve the multiple crises confronting the nation.
The country needs political stability more than anything else, and it cannot be achieved by the armed forces elite backing certain groups and suppressing others. On 6th May, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang advised Pakistan’s political leaders “to forge consensus, uphold stability, and effectively confront the domestic and external challenges, allowing the country to redirect its focus towards economic growth.” That’s the road China took to become a superpower.
Pakistan’s survival as a viable democratic state is at stake. The Global Village Space warns: “Pakistan faces a daunting choice: a descent into anarchy and the prospect of a coup d’état, or a path towards stability, rooted in democratic principles and economic recovery. The destiny of the nation hangs in the balance, closely scrutinized by the international community, with a collective hope for the restoration of stability and progress. The future of Pakistan hinges on its capacity to navigate these formidable challenges, confront them resolutely, and forge a resilient, prosperous, and democratic nation.”
We appeal to you to stop the persecution of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his followers, and facilitate the conditions for holding a free and fair general election due within six months. The cases against Mr Khan and his followers, which many believe are fabricated and politically motivated, should be dropped so that he and his party can participate in the elections. There must be no interference with the judicial process by the coalition government and the armed forces elite. Pakistan judiciary can be proud that it has produced some brave fearless judges, able to withstand the pressure from the Executive.
General Munir, we would like to remind you that Pakistan is the outcome of the sacrifices of millions of Muslims in colonial India. Many sacrificed their lives and lost their homes and properties. Muslims in India are still paying a heavy price under Modi’s Hindu nationalist government. The question that crops up in the minds of those who love Pakistan is: was it worth it, given the situation today? Please do something to ensure it was worth it.
List of Endorsers
- Massoud Shadjareh, Chairman, Islamic Human Rights Commission
- Mohideen Abdul Kader, Citizens International
- Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, President, Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations
- Syed Husin Ali, Former member of Malaysian Senate
- Toh Kin Woon, Former Executive Councillor, Penang State Govt.
- Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-general for economic development
- Mardani Ali Sera, Cendekia Ikhlas Madani Foundation, Indonesia
- Dato’ Seri Dr. Anwar Fazal, President Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Society
- Professor Dr. Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
- Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
- Imam Muhammad al-Asi, The Islamic Center, Washington, DC
- Sandew Hira, Decolonial International Network Foundation, Amsterdam
- Shahridan Faiez, Investment Banker and Citizens International Trustee
- Rayla Javaid , Citizens Against State Torture (UK)
- Herry Nurdi ,Chairman Teachers Working Group Indonesia
- Syekh Abdul Ghani Samsudin Chairman Secretariat for the Ulama Assembly of Asia
- Syekh Ahmad Awang , Chairman, Alliance of World Mosque in Defence of Al Aqsa
- Ustazah Aminah Zaharia , Chairperson Malaysia Muslimah Ukhuwwah Association.
- Ir Jamaludin Samsudin , CEO Allied Council Cordinating Islamic Network Malaysia
- Dr Abdullah Sudin, Presiden University Graduates Association Malaysia
- Anwar Fadhil , Asean Regional Mosque Network
- President – Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM)
- Pertubuhan Himpunan Lepasan Institusi Pendidikan Malaysia (Haluan)
- International Movement for Monetary Justice
- Ahmad Farhan Rosli, President, National Union Of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM)
- Professor Dr.Heru Susetyo, Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia
- Ahammad Hussein – Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK
- Samir Al-Haidari – Ahlul Bayt Islamic Mission
- Roshan M Salih – 5 Pillars
- Abbas Ali – Innovative Minds Human Rights Group
For more information on UJN projects, click here.