Imran Khan is fighting for Haqeeqi Azadi in Pakistan

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Haqeeqi Azadi

By Justice Markandey Katju

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan is leading a heroic struggle against the fascist forces and reign of terror in Pakistan, demanding elections and restoration of democracy.

In his speeches ( delivered online from his home, since he is practically under house arrest ) he often calls for ‘haqeeqi azadi’ ( real freedom ). What does this mean ? It means socio-economic freedoms i.e. freedom from poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, price rise, lack of healthcare and good education, etc.

Without these, the political and civil rights mentioned in the Constitution, e.g. liberty, freedom of speech, equality, etc are hollow and meaningless. Do freedom of speech, liberty, equality, etc mean anything to a man who is poor, hungry and unemployed ? He needs concrete things like food and a job, not abstractions like liberty and freedom of speech.

In this connection one may refer to President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous speech called The Second Bill of Rights delivered on 11th January 1944 in his State of the Union Address

In this speech President Roosevelt said that the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, which contained provisions guaranteeing freedom of speech, liberty, equality, etc, had clearly proved inadequate, and now a Second Bill of Rights was needed guaranteeing to all citizens certain socio-economic rights e.g. employment with good incomes, nutritious food, proper healthcare, housing, etc.

Haqeeqi Azadi really means what President Roosevelt envisaged.

But the civil and political rights i.e. democracy, liberty,  freedom of speech etc help in the attainment of these socio-economic rights, as they provide a platform for demanding them and fighting for them..

The struggle for democracy in Pakistan, which Imran Khan is fighting for, is therefore vital for attaining haqeeqi azadi

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