ISLAMABAD, July 23: Eminent historian and scholar Dr Mubarak Ali has said that emergence of a political party from the lawyers’ movement can lead to a social change and help resolve the problems confronting the people.
Delivering a lecture on “Resistance movements in historical perspective” organised by the Awami Jamhoori Ittehad and monthly Badalti Dunya at the Pakistan Academy of Letters on Tuesday he observed that the lawyers’ movement has its own limitations as it was issue specific.
He said the people pin high hope on the group which challenges the system and the failure of a movement creates frustration among them. The people can suffer from a long spell of despondency, if the lawyers movement ends in fiasco”, he warned.
Dr Ali said the abrupt end of the long march by the lawyers was disappointing for the people who were expecting some results. However, the historian was optimistic about the impact the lawyers movement has had on the common people, civil society.
“The failure of a movement is not the end of the story as the flame keeps on burning under the ashes and gives birth to another movement”, he observed citing examples of many resistance movements launched by students and labourers in Pakistan and Europe which ended without achieving any result as these were run in isolation.
The results would have been different had these been integrated with each other.
He deplored that these movement were not documented by historians. “We do not even know how many people like Hassan Nasir, Nazir Abbasi and others laid down their lives for us”. He said resistance movements, if properly documented can keep on inspiring others to keep the flame burn.
Dr Ali said political parties always remained ready for compromises but never launched resistance movements against the establishment and rulers that could bring social change. He said same is the case at present and it would be a folly to expect anything positive from the present political leadership.
Tracing history of resistance movement, he said people in different parts of the world have been raising voice against injustice, oppression and exploitation.
He said resistance movements in the days of monarchy were labelled as revolt. He said revolts were sometimes meant for overthrowing the rulers and seizing power but there were a number of instances of resistance movements launched by the common people for social justice.
He referred to the peasants’ revolt against Czar in Russia and the movement in Egypt during which pyramids were destroyed.
He said the French revolution in 1779 gave a new spirit to the people of Europe. Students in Italy formed secret associations and told the people that movements do not die down with the passage of time.
He said religious people were at the fore-front of resistance movement against imperial forces and used religion as a tool citing Fraizi movement of 1840 and Jihadi movement. Talking about the 1857’s uprising Dr Ali said the history was distorted by the imperial historians and an impression was created as if the English people were subjected to atrocities.
Historians have been facing difficulties in writing about the 1857 uprising as there was a ban on writing anything about the incident during British rule. The British rulers had destroyed all the documents and evidences about it. Whatever has been written were either pro-imperial power or were about heroes like Jhansi ki Rani, Hazrat Mahal and Bahadur Shah Zafar.
There were no mention of the low caste people like Dalits, shoemakers movement, sailors and peasants uprising against British colonial rulers. According to historians, one million people were executed or imprisoned by the British rulers, Dr ali said.
President Rawalpindi Bar Association, Sardar Asmatullah Khan while speaking on the occasion said no plan for a sit-in outside the parliament house had been planned at the time of long march.
Rejecting the conspiracy theory, he said no paper work undertaken with regard to the preparations for long march had the mention of a sit-in. He, however, said young lawyers wanted to take the march to a ‘logical conclusion’.
He disclosed that he was personally in favour of a sit-in, but bowed before the decision of the leadership. He termed the long march a success of not only the lawyers community, but the entire nation.
Advocate Athar Minallah said an independent judicial system was a must to establish an egalitarian society. He was all praise for deposed judges, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and other lawyers’ leaders.
Ayub Malik of monthly Badalti Dunya conducted the function.