Long live the students of LUMS

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Long live the students of LUMS

Long live the students of LUMS
Long live the students of LUMS

By Justice Markandey Katju

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) invited the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwar-ul-Haq Kaakar to address the teachers, students, etc there.

In the meeting the students asked a barrage of questions which have gone viral on the media, as they are the questions on everyone's lips in Pakistan, but no one dared to ask them so candidly due to the reign of terror prevailing in Pakistan..

By asking these questions the students have become heroes in Pakistan.

The first question by a student was why was Mr Kaakar late by 50 minutes ?

Some people commented that this was impertinence ( badtameezi ) on the part of the student, but to my mind it was a very relevant question. Being late is unacceptable in civilised society. Punctuality means showing respect to others, but politicians ( and others ) both in India and in Pakistan are notorious for lacking this quality.

Mr Kaakar gave the flimsy excuse that he was busy in a Cabinet meeting, where issues are discussed which have long time effect on people's lives, so he could not leave in the middle of the meeting.

This excuse was feeble and far fetched. Firstly, Mr Kaakar is only a caretaker PM, not a regular one, so he cannot take policy decisions, but only decisions which ensure timely elections. Secondly, he could have adjourned his Cabinet meeting for a few hours, telling his Cabinet colleagues that he has an appointment at LUMS. Heavens would not have fallen by such an adjournment.

The next question, by a girl student, was why elections in Punjab and KP were not held within 90 days of dissolution of the Assemblies, as is the requirement of Pakistan's Constitution, and why a date for the national elections has not yet been fixed ?

Kaakar's reply was that fixing a date for the elections was the job of the Election Commission of Pakistan, and not his job. This again was jugglery and subterfuge. Since the job of a caretaker PM is to get elections held, Kaakar should have disclosed what steps he took to persuade the ECP to announce the date and hold elections as per Article 224(2) of the Constitution. Is Kaakar just a dummy ?

Another student mentioned about the Karachi Municipal Corporation election, in which the PTI and an ally won the majority, but a PPP member was made the Chairman. The student was apprehensive that the same process may be repeated in the national and provincial elections. In other words, though Imran Khan's PTI enjoys support of over 90% people in Pakistan ( as all opinion polls indicate ), it will not be allowed to form the government.

Kaakar gave a totally evasive an equivocative reply. His facts, too, were incorrect e.g. he mentioned James the First who, according to Kaakar, fled after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, when it was James the Second who fled ( James the First had died in 1625 ).

To my mind the LUMS students, by fearlessly expressing what was in the hearts of all Pakistanis ( but which they could not express due to dread of dire consequences ) have broken the dam of fear and silence created in Pakistan, and have exposed the Pakistan Establishment to be paper tigers. They have ignited a spark which will soon burst into flames throughout the country. Their lead will now be followed by the entire people of Pakistan.

The LUMS students remind one of the May Fourth Movement started on May 4th, 1919 by students in China which woke up the entire country, and started the process of the Chinese Revolution which culminated in 1949.

Long live the LUMS students ! Hats off to them !

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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