Mar 16, 2009

Lahorites take to the streets for ‘change’

“Every generation needs a new revolution,” said Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America (USA) and charged-Lahorites proved on March 15 that they had took to streets to help bring about a new revolution which will bring ‘justice’ back in their lives.

From morning until noon, the entire City was virtually a police state with every road barricaded and cordoned off by heavy contingents of police. All eyes were focused on the Lahore High Court and GPO Chowk where Lawyers and activists of the PML-N, the Jaamat-e-Islami, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf etc were busy in playing hide and seek. Police fired hundreds of tear gas shells and baton charged those demanding a free and independent judiciary.

Model Town was the most affected locality as all of its entry and exit points were sealed and heavy contingents of police denied entry even to Model Town residents. However, after Mian Nawaz Sharif came out of his house in Model Town and broke the first barricade, the people did not care about cops wearing helmets and holding clubs in hands across the city.

Until evening, one could only witness countless heads on most of the major City roads especially Ferozpur Road, Lytton Road, The Mall, Mauj-e-Darya Road, Old Anarkali, Multan Road, Data Darbar Road and Ravi Road etc. The question asked by the police as well as the civil bureaucracy from each other was: “From where these people have come?” The mass appearance of people, most of whom were common citizens, on City roads terrified the provincial government and sensing the mood of the masses the police was directed to stay away.

Charged political activists and common citizens were also seen dancing on drum beats on the route from where the caravan of Mian Nawaz Sharif was moving. A large number of people also came out of their homes with their families. Individual females, students, youngsters and even many octogenarians were also seen chanting slogans from the rooftops of their houses along the route. People were also seen distributing juice packs, bottles of mineral water, edibles and snacks among the participants of the long march.

As the participants moved ahead, police contingents stepped back, which increased the motivation and enthusiasm of the participants and more people began to join the rally. Many people termed Sunday’s long march as the ‘Caravan of Justice’ and urged President Asif Ali Zardari to wake up and smell the coffee. Abraham Lincoln said if by mere force of numbers a majority deprived a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution, said Khurram, a banker, quoting a US president. He said he along with a dozen friends came to participate in the ‘Caravan of Justice’ because they knew this was the time for change.

“I come out on the call of Nawaz Sharif not because of the fact that he is a great leader but because the rationale for this march is just. Restoration of the judiciary is the need for the prosperity of the country as well as the nation,” said Mrs Jahanzaib, a resident of Rehmanpura. She was sitting along the Ferozpur Road to join Mian Nawaz Sharif. She said her husband had already gone to Islamabad yesterday. “I am not scared of being arrested because I know this is the only chance we have to get a free and independent judicial system,” she said.

“I was sitting in my house watching different news channels when my wife said to me that this is the time for the people to come out and support Mian Nawaz Sharif, said Mansab, a resident of Ichhra. He said his wife encouraged him to go out after which he left his home to participate in the rally.

Besides those who were physically participating in the Long March across the city, a large number of people remained glued to their television sets watching every moment of the history being made by the long march participants.

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