I was so angry when I read Aljazeera report this morning about the sentencing of 100 activists in Pakistan. The activists were accused and found guilty of ‘staging illegal protests and committing several other violations, causing chaos and anger among activists’. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the charge was “what the hell is ‘several other violations‘?”
Then, it became clear to me that the charges were cooked up, as usual.
Recently, hundreds of Civilians led by the fire-spitting cleric, Tahir ul-Qadri have been protesting in Pakistan, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The angry Pakistani protesters accuse the Prime Minister of influencing the elections that returned him into power and are determined not to back down unless he resigns. The Prime Minister has also been criticized for not doing enough during the recent floods that killed 280 and displaced thousands across Pakistan.
I have consistently condemned issues like this and the sad thing is that it is extremely common in many countries. Arresting and jailing of activists and protesters or forcefully dispersing them, especially when they are not violent is a serious threat to democracy and human rights. The infuriating thing is that this trend is adopted by so many governments in order to force loyalty and retain power.
Use of force to disperse or crack down on protesters is counter-productive and is usually never the solution. Syria can serve as a good example. When you do not allow civilians to express their views through the major way they can (protests), they seek for other ways which usually is taking up arms and this only creates a straight corridor to war.