LAHORE - Gravely concerned about the prevailing unrest and chaos in the country, the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP) calls upon the Federal and the Punjab Governments to uphold and respect the citizens’ fundamental rights of assembly, association and expression enshrined in Articles 16, 17 & 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The CCP further calls upon the government to reverse its current coercive means of maintaining public order by calling army in aid of civil power in Islamabad under an expansive interpretation of Article 245 of the Constitution, by imposing section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Islamabad, and by denying citizens their fundamental rights of movement and earning a living by blocking highways across Punjab and barricading busy thoroughfares of Lahore and Islamabad with containers. Besides these unlawful actions, such measures have caused great distress to common citizens whose lives have been paralyzed. CCP is a non partisan group of Pakistani citizens that has been actively striving to promote the rule of law. They have played an important role in organizing civil society as a force that can help shape the destiny of Pakistan.

The CCP urges the Federal government and also the Punjab government to allow the protesters to peacefully proceed and expend their energies, instead of trying to contain them, which would cause further violence and disruption. The aggressively restraining action, by an elected government, creates distrust between the citizens and the government.

The CCP, while advocating its right to peaceful protest, calls upon all protesting political parties to carry out their protests peacefully without disrupting public safety and property. The protesting parties should ensure that their rhetoric does not incite their supporters to violence. Their incendiary oratory can lead to anarchy and instability in the country by creating dissensions in our society. The enemies of Pakistan would benefit from the ensuing confusion. The government and opposition parties need to enter into a meaningful dialogue where the legitimate grievances of injured and affronted parties are positively redressed.

Democratic norms demand a negotiated solution to all differences arising out of lack of communication between various stakeholders in a democratic dispensation.

The CCP is concerned about the preservation of sanctity of Independence Day and hence calls upon all stakeholders to ensure that Pakistan’s 67th Independence Day remains a day of celebration of our hard-fought independence. May it passes peacefully and does not become an occasion for any untoward violent incident from any side, which could create a state of chaos, the CCP prays.

The CCP reaffirms its unqualified support to our valiant armed forces, who are risking their lives in the war against terror. We also maintain our commitment to the internally displaced Pakistanis, who have left their homes for the sake of  our security. We pledge  to assist them morally, materially and  to  help them to restore and improve their lives. May our 67th Independence Day  usher in an era of peace and stability, resting on democratic and constitutional norms . A Pakistan free from terrorism where rule of law prevails.–Press Release