LAHORE: The military establishment must stop providing backing to political parties to come to power and allow the masses to elect their representatives through free election, says Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq.
Addressing the Youth Leadership Convention at Greater Iqbal Park on Monday, he said the PTI, PML-N and PPP were the beneficiaries of the system, which the establishment controlled and both the sides (the ruling parties and the establishment) had caused irreparable damage to the country.
Later talking to Dawn, the JI chief said the youth, the real power and wealth of the country, had always been on the party radar as it formed 64pc of Pakistan now. “The Jamaat is a revolutionary party, which is striving for economic, educational and agricultural revolution. Only the youth are open to revolutionary ideas and the Jamaat has decided to attract it now.”
Mr Siraj disagreed with the question that the Jamaat had woken up to youth importance after Imran Khan attracted the young blood and created a committed following to win by-elections and to pressurize the establishment and the government to concede his demands.
“Most of the JI members join it in their college years. The Jamaat has always been active in schools and colleges where young minds agree to its agenda and become a life-time supporter of the party,” he argued. A party insider, however, thinks that the Jamaat has calculated that the PTI has disappointed youth in a big way.
“The JI is now trying to attract the disgruntled youth, which was disappointed by the PTI and can neither join the PPP nor the PML-N. The JI is offering itself as an alternative and this was the reason for it to arrange the first youth convention of its kind and invite only young people rather than its old members,” he said.
Addressing the convention, Siraj said the youth should take a stand to get rid of the status quo and launch a struggle for the rule of law, asking the participants to spread the JI message among the masses.
“The JI would fight against the ruling elite, ruling political parties and their supporters.”
He regretted that the establishment had a history of providing support to political parties, making selections in the name of election.
The institution’s pledge to stay away from politics is welcoming but it raised the question who would be held accountable for the damage done to the country, he questioned. He said the country was at the crossroads and making every person worried about the future; however, he added that he never felt disappointed as he believed in the strength of the country’s young generation.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2022