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Long March and the consequences

April 16th, 1963 when a protester was arrested and jailed for asking individuals to disobey unjust laws, he was Martin Luther King who took stand for the ‘civil rights’. Back in the days when African Americans were considered a “property” and had no rights, it took years and years of effort to make people realize they need to take a stand and demand equal rights in the society. In late fall the same year almost 200,000 people joined the march which is labeled in the history as ‘March on Washington’. It was not only the African American who joined the March but also people from different ethnicity came forward and supported the long march. Many believe that it was an idea whose time had come; yes it was a revolution that involved arrests, tortures and deaths. The consequences of that Long March are still giving benefits to not just African American but all who come from different countries to USA for a job and a better life.

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In fall 2014, August 14th Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan announced a long march toward Islamabad to bring electoral reform in Pakistan and call for an independent audit of election 2013. When we look at the history of Long Marches in the world and compare it with what is happening in Pakistan right now. The very first thing we notice is that all the demands put forward by Mr. King were unconstitutional, which later became a part of the constitution after amendments. Now when it comes to the demands put forward by Azadi March and Inqalab March leaders, we can say these demands are unconstitutional but in the supremacy of democracy the premier must step down and allow the judicial commission to investigate election rigging allegations.  After all, every political party called the elections 2013 as rigged but when it comes to ask for the impartial investigations this demand is called unconstitutional by the same political parties.It clearly shows that all the status quo political parties are getting benefits from this system and the electoral reform will highly impact their strength in parliament. There is no doubt that it will have some impact on those who are protesting for it as well. But that is how it should be, as suggested earlier that it is an idea whose time has come. People are now aware of the value of their vote and they are ready to do anything to secure it.

In the history, we don’t find any commission report that was impartial in Pakistan. Somehow, somewhere those reports were influenced by the rulers of that time. It is almost as if when Government has no other options to cover up the mess, it forms a judicial commission and the reports are always biased. So the demand to ask Premier to resign to let the judicial commission complete the report is legit.While all the theories by political analysts have proven wrong, there is no sign that army or establishment is behind these marches nor any international force is hatching a conspiracy against the democracy in Pakistan. They are still protesting and their demands are still the same since day one. No one knows when and how this will end.

In past 70 days people have realized that this is about time to bury this old system that is not delivering the rights of the people. Whether Azadi March is going to be successful or not, one thing is true that people of Pakistan will never be the same.  They have realized the importance of standing for the justice and the electoral reform is the only way forward.

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