Raja Jahangir Akhtar: Hunger Strike, Part 2

ISLAMABAD: Raja Jahangir Akhtar, a renowned   political and social worker, who has announced to go on hunger strike unto death to press for acceptance of his demands, has written an open letter to all political leaders of Pakistan. Some of his main demands include:

  • All headquarters of defense forces situated in civilian areas may be shifted outside the domain of civilian population so that in the event of war valuable civilian lives remain safe. Hiroshima is the worst example. It was GHQ of Japan’s defense forces when America used nuclear weapon   during World War II.
  • Every district in Pakistan may be provided with infrastructure for education from primary to intermediate level. Children of marginalized sections of society be provided with free education.
  • A network of new engineering universities may be set up to help all students who secure 900 marks in F.Sc seek engineering degree.


Following is the text of his open letter:-

“An open letter to all political leaders

In my capacity as a humble political and social worker, I have been waging struggle for the past 48 years to express my views on the economic situation of Pakistan. For my candid views on country’s economy, I have been put behind the bars many a time, and once a military court sentenced me to one year’s imprisonment and 10 flogs’ punishment.

I feel totally disappointed over Pakistan’s current critical economic situation. And more disappointing for me is pathetic and insensitive attitude of our national political leadership about this grave economic situation. Therefore, as protest against apathy of the national political leadership, I have decided to go on hunger strike till death from 12 September 2011 at Super Market Islamabad.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that in fact our national political leadership is solely responsible for the current economic crisis. Majority of our political leaders believe that our army is facing an external threat and is duty-bound to defend our geographical (and according to some our ideological) borders. I have an opposite view. I firmly believe that Pakistan faces no external threat. Whatever threat we face is from within. We need to divert all our resources to end poverty, promote education and improve public health.

I claim with full confidence that India and Afghanistan, though never so friendly to Pakistan, never ever had any aggressive designs against Pakistan from 1947 to 1965, the period during which our country’s economy was at its peak. Pakistan’s currency was 1: 1.25 stronger than India’s. We must also keep in mind the fact that the 1965 War against India started after we launched Operation Gibraltar in Occupied Kashmir.

I dare claim that both the government and the opposition political parties have no practicable solution to resolve our current economic crisis. Therefore, I humbly suggest that we can salvage our economy by cutting the size of our army, which is not required in its present strength as we face no external threat. Therefore one way to meet our current economic challenges to end our confrontation with India and Afghanistan like the Soviet Union did against America and other western countries. We can do this by maintaining the strength of our army at a level which existed before the 1965 war. We should give a golden shake hand to the rest of the army which can serve the country in a better way.

Therefore, I request the national political leadership to support me if they agree with my viewpoint; and if they don’t, they should convince me about their views and solution (if they have any) for Pakistan’s economic survival”.


Your’s sincerely,

Mahmood Ali Hamdani

Media Coordinator


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By M R

Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory and the editor of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies.
Raja tweets @masoodraja

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