Thus spoke Javed Ali Khan, a Pakistani man who as the New York Times reports:
...traveled for days with his wife and six children to participate in a national march of lawyers and opposition political parties that came to an abrupt end on Monday when the lawyers demands were met....
“Justice,” said Mr. Khan’s wife, Rubina Javed, smiling broadly. “We came for justice...Justice is the solution to the common man’s problems,” Ms. Javed said, seated on a blue scarf on the grass with two daughters and four sons, ages 6 to 18, around her. “I want justice in schools, on roads, in transportation. Now the common man is speaking.”
As the Times report continued:
[In] Pakistan, the political class comes from a powerful feudal elite, which has largely avoided policies that would bring greater social equality, like land reform. With only half of the population literate, so far the strategy has worked.
“The ruling elite can get away with anything,” said Muhammad Ali, a software engineer. “They are like kings here.”
But the lawyers’ movement may be starting to change that. Though small in number, it is made up of an educated, diverse cross section of Pakistani society that includes lower middle
class professionals, whose reach may extend deeper into Pakistan’s 160 million population than initially expected.
“This movement has given an awareness to the common people in Pakistan of their rights,” said Shamoon Azhar, 26, a doctoral student at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, sitting on the lawn with a large group of his friends. “This is about awareness. It’s given people confidence. It’s shown people it can happen.”...
“The feudal system, it was in the past,” said Mazhar Iqbal, a private school manager. “There was no media then. No education. The poor were poor forever. Now is the time to wake up. It’s been 60 years and we’ve been wasting our time.”
Saif Abbas, a consultant who used to work for the Asian Development Bank in Islamabad, was more clear-eyed about the meaning of the march. Pakistan is still a poor country with a vast illiterate population, and a corrupt, unresponsive ruling class, he said.
“This country has to take control of its own future, and that’s education,” he said, holding a flag. “Unfortunately, we’re just not there yet.”
His vision for Pakistan is a “thoroughly democratic” country based on an Islamic system of governance, with a strong, powerful middle class, like that in Turkey or Malaysia. The current system will simply perpetuate the power of the mullahs on one hand, he said, and the elite, on the other, “who are totally disconnected from the people of this country.”