It is sad that the police used violence to disrupt a political demonstration of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers in Lahore, and that dozens of PTI activists were arrested on The Mall under the guise of breaking Section 144. All segments of society must reject the caretaker government’s disproportionate use of police to subdue political activists. The use of Section 144 at a time when the Election Commission of Pakistan has published the election timetable for the Punjab Assembly calls for judicial intervention. Caretakers’ main responsibility is to secure fair and free elections, not to undermine the rule of law. But this is happening for the first time in Pakistan. State oppression is a reality here.
State oppression is a form of government control that involves the use of force, intimidation, and manipulation to suppress dissent and opposition to the ruling regime. Unfortunately, Pakistan has a long history of state oppression and political repression.
One of the most notable examples of state oppression in Pakistan is the frequent use of the military to suppress political opposition. The military has ruled Pakistan for about half of its history since its independence in 1947. Even during periods of civilian rule, the military has remained a powerful force and often interfered in political affairs. The military has also used its power to intimidate and silence critics, journalists, and human rights activists.
In addition to military oppression, the government has also used other tactics to suppress political opposition. These include restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. Journalists and media outlets critical of the government are frequently harassed, threatened, and attacked. Political dissidents are often targeted for arrest and imprisonment on trumped-up charges.
Religious minorities, particularly the Shia and Ahmadiyya communities, have also been targeted by state oppression. They have faced discrimination, violence, and even state-sanctioned persecution.
Overall, state oppression has been a major challenge to the development of democracy and civil society in Pakistan. It has limited political participation, stifled dissent, and undermined the rule of law. While some progress has been made in recent years, much work remains to be done to address this issue and ensure that all Pakistanis can exercise their rights and freedoms without fear of reprisal.