RAWALPINDI: President Yahya Khan in a statement today [Jan 20] deplored the “resort to violence” in political meetings. He urged that “the public opinion must strongly assert itself against recourse to hooliganism such as the one that raised its ugly head at Dacca”.

The President called upon party leaders to translate their condemnation of this distressing episode “into action and make sure that their lieutenants and followers refrain from violence”. He was glad that they had condemned it but, he stressed, “It is not enough”.

Anyone employing violence in pursuit of a poli­tical objective, the President remarked, was obs­tructing the transfer of power to the people and was hence answerable before the bar of public opinion. Democracy, he added was a process of Government by discussion and it rested on the concept of tolerance for one another’s point of view.

Those who sought to settle the argument by violence proclaimed not only their lack of confidence in their own cause but also in democracy, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. President Yahya Khan said he had been “deeply grieved by the senseless loss of life in Dacca as a result of a clash in a political meeting”.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020