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INTERVIEW: Saeed’s call to politics

August 13, 2014 at 3:55 am | Mareea Khalid

Saeed Murad

As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf youth mantra enticed the youth to PTI like the positively phototactic moth is drawn to light, PTI held its end of the deal by opening doors to 40pc young candidates. One of these young candidates nominated by PTI, Murad Saeed, won his seat from NA-29 Swat, after defeating his senior political rivals. Saeed hails from Kabal of district Swat. During Operation Rah-e-Rast, the second battle of Swat in 2009 between Pakistan Army and the militants, a stray mortar shell had destroyed his house critically injuring his mother and brother. It served as Saeed’s call to politics as he was now determined to serve his people. So even at that crucial time, Saeed went from town to town forming ISF (Insaf Student Federation) chapter which is the driving force behind Imran Khan’s PTI.

One of the latest controversies surrounding him was his argument in a TV show with Arslan Iftikhar, son of former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry.

“I was told Khurram Dastagir would be there for the program with me as a guest. When I reached there, Arslan was there on the next seat. I took Absaar aside and asked him how I stay for a one hour program with Arslan being the other guest”, said Saeed. “He isn’t an intellectual or an analyst, neither a member of any political party, but only the son of former Chief Justice.” He continues.

“Whatever happened was against the ethics and regulations of media. It didn’t happen like it was propagated. Two entities propagated it badly via their tweets on social media such as the Jang group and the pages of PML-N. Take Omer Cheema for an example. Many anchors supported it too like Asma Shirazi, Reham Khan, Fareeha Idrees and Shahzeb Khanzada. Absaar Alam hasn’t only cut two words out. Arslan used bad language, curse words and after such a thing I think there’s no harm in asking for apology. Even in parliament, if somebody uses bad language, we expunge that and ask the one who is guilty to apologize.”

In Musharraf’s regime when the Chief Justice was crippled, he gathered students in favor of judiciary. His inspiration comes from Imran Khan who always kept his words and therefore had a strong urge to join Khan. Like many others, he believes that Shaukat Khanum, Namal University, Mianwali symbolize his vision.

“What I like about Khan is that he is a visionary leader. His commitment is very strong. He believes in Sadaaqat, Adaalat, Shujaat (Honesty, Justice and Bravery).”

EA. The hot issue these days is a military coup this year. If this happens, what would be the state of political parties?

You probably have this in mind because of our Azadi march and the march by Tahir-ul-Qadri but there’s a major difference between him and us. How we differentiate between Qadri and PTI is that we are a part of the democratic process in this state. We go for elections, Qadri doesn’t. We don’t want democracy to derail.

An American researcher once said, “The never ending political crisis in Pakistan is a product of electoral corruption”. Democracy would strengthen once we end electoral corruption. I don’t see it coming. We want two things; electoral reforms and accountability for 11 May 2013 elections.

So a military coup isn’t coming as we largely believe in democracy. In Pakistan’s history, the only party who started from grass root level and rose to this status is PTI. With over 10 million members, we are the largest party in Pakistan by membership. We took part in elections on provincial and national level and now running a coalition government in KPK because millions of people voted for us.

EA. You ruled out the possibility of a military coup. So what would happen on 14th of August?

The options we had after May 11 elections were going to Tribunal, Supreme Court, and Parliament. Even when PML-N leader, Saad Rafique said 4 constituencies would be ours, 4 would be yours, we welcomed that suggestion. For Supreme Court and Tribunal’s ease, we even said lets write a letter and both parties would go to the court but it never happened.

We had a public rally at Teen Talwar Karachi and Defence area Lahore after the general election. People gathered under PTIs flag although the leader was admitted in the hospital. People came out anyway. Democratic harm could be done if we wanted but we didn’t opt for it because people would ask why we didn’t go for a solution under the law.

Going out on streets on August 14th is our democratic right. We now know about the 75,000 unverified votes. We need answers like what was Najam Sethi’s role as caretaker Chief Minister in Punjab and who else was involved in corruption. All political parties say rigging always happens. Is that an excuse? Would it keep happening? The political parties here don’t work much to enhance their vote bank as they work for rigging.

EA. Is Tehrik-e-Insaaf still a movement or it is now a party?

I would say it’s still a Tehrik, a movement. Since we are a part of government we are a political party but PTI is a movement because it’s still fighting for justice. We want to rule the country like Hazrat Umar bin al-Khat’tab (R.A) ruled the whole Sasanian Empire and more than two thirds of the Byzantine Empire in 634 CE.

EA. If PTI comes to power in the center, would they enforce Umar laws?

In Pakistan there is an existing judicial system yet people don’t get cheap justice. People have to wait for years to get a judgment, so our aim is to create a justice system where people don’t have to fight for years to get justice. When PTI comes to power, it will work to eliminate corruption from the lower judiciary to provide justice at door steps.

Militancy in Swat didn’t begin in 2004-05. In 1971 that movement was started because they wanted cheap and immediate justice. In the tribal system, Swat used to get immediate justice and the whole village used to gather.

EA. What is the ideology of PTI?

After the new world order, leftist, rightist and conservatism idea is gone. PTI is looking after the national interest.

Like Imran Khan said, we wouldn’t compromise on corruption. In Pakistan’s history, we are the only party which fired its own ministers on corruption charges. Conflict of interest law has been passed by PTI which doesn’t allow any minister to do business.

Previously, the MPAs and MNAs used to spend funds for their own benefits. Now we have consultants and we pass tenders so that no corruption can be done anymore. An independent Accountability Commission is formed who can even question the Chief Minister if he is by any means involved in corruption. We have passed 25 new rules in the provincial assembly.

Polio virus ended one year after PTI government took charge. It is being appreciated around the world. Bill Gates, WHO and UN International Children’s Emergency Fund had congratulated KPK government for running Sehat Ka Insaaf programme successfully.

PTI also initiated reforms in education system which is in first phase. We are trying to end differences between the rich and poor. English is now the language of instruction in entire KPK. After Tameer-e-School project, more students have enrolled and attendance is now ensured in every school.

EA. Your party isn’t talking about mid-term elections?

We haven’t asked for mid-term elections officially. Even if we do, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional.

As per law, courts are bound to give a decision within 4 months, but under current circumstances, Supreme Court says it has 20,000 other cases. Like they don’t care about democracy and then courts also gave stay orders to candidates, which is causing delay in justice. If there was no rigging, why would they get a stay order?  We don’t want to go for any kind of clash. We expect from the government to give us our democratic rights.

EA. PTI was in favour of talks with TTP and even didn’t show support for a military operation. Do you think TTP isn’t a terrorist organization and this issue could be resolved via talks?

Those who wanted peace talks to succeed should have been given a chance. Mehsud tribes such as Sajna group etc were coming close to the government during peace talks. Haqqani was with government, Gul Bahadur Wazir tribe was already in agreement with the government. The objectives were going to be achieved. PTI always supported the policy of differentiating, isolating and eliminating. However, when the operation Zarb-e-Azb started, we stood with the Army because they needed moral support.

The purpose of peace talks was to differentiate between those who didn’t want to fight with the government. They had become Taliban because of what they lost. They had lost their homes and lives due to drones. But if we don’t unite now, we wouldn’t do justice with those who safeguard us.

EA. What would you say about terrorist attempts to kill youngsters like Malala Yousafzai?

Not supporting Malala Yousafzai isn’t possible being human. Who could say what happened was good? People would say so but I wouldn’t, because my mother was herself shot in the head. I understand her pain.

 

Mareea Khalid

Mareea is an Islamabad based journalist. She can be reached at mareeakhaled@gmail.com

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