Despite the threat from further terrorist attacks, people have stepped out all over Pakistan and have begun to take responsibility for change. On the eve of Pakistan Day, and the 70th anniversary of the historic 1940 Lahore resolution, thousands of Pakistanis passed a People’s Resolution.
The document calls for the shift from a security state to a welfare state, a stronger representative democracy, provincial autonomy, accountability and an independent foreign policy. The resolution was based on dialogue formulated from 90 People’s Assemblies held across Pakistan in March.
Packed to capacity, the People’s Assembly in Islamabad saw concerned citizens address the quality of state education. "If a large part of our budget continues to go to military spending, there is little chance for better health, education or peace" said a young male from Sindh.The Islamabad assembly was moderated by Talat Hussain from AAJ TV'S “Live With Talat.”
Facilitated by Aman Ittehad (Peace Alliance), these recent People’s Assemblies suggest attitudes are beginning to shift; people are starting to take affirmative action in their demands for peace and democratic governance and are taking a firm stand against violent extremism. As the civilian platform responsible, Aman Ittehad organized the celebration on Pakistan Day to be rounded off with music and theatre from the NWFP, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh in the cultural centre in Gaddafi stadium, Lahore.
The People’s Resolution now becomes a call to action from which Aman Ittehad will consolidate and work towards a social contract between citizen and state.
Saima Mohsin (Dawn News TV Anchor and Journalist) said:
“Pakistan is a country that’s rich in heritage, culture, resources and good people. It has so much to offer its people and the world. It is time we stood up to those who try to shatter our peace, security and prospects. But calling for peace alone is not enough, saying what you want is good but saying what is not acceptable makes things crystal clear. We can take a stand for peace, democracy, justice and education. We can take those to task who don’t provide us with it. I feel we should stop waiting to be empowered by our leaders but empower ourselves. No matter who or where we are. Let’s strive to be the best we can be.”
Mekaal Hasan (Musician - MekaalHasan Band) said:
“As a patriot and citizen of Pakistan, I urge all Pakistanis to voice their concerns against the evil that is terrorism. No moral, social or political objective can be achieved by force, whether it concerns the forcible occupation of Kashmir or Palestine, or the killing of thousands of innocents in the name of a religious extremism which has no respect for human life. Let us not give in to despair but rather make our positive presence felt in our unity and our collective concern for a stable, peaceful and tolerant Pakistan.”
Abdul Qadir (Former Pakistani Cricketer and Chief Selector for PCB) said:
“As a nation we need to unite against those that are bent upon destabilizing our country and help. Each in our own way, we must be brave so that we can establish peace and justice in Pakistan.”