CITIZEN’S VOICE The launching of Citizen’s Voice-a non-governmental organization sponsored by 18 prominent citizens of Karachi-was an indication that some segments of Pakistan’s population were prepared to work toward the resolution of the problems which had brought the country’s largest city to a point of virtual paralysis “We are a group of professional men and women,” the sponsors announced in newspaper advertisements carried on 27 December 1995 “We believe that it is time for concerned citizens to step into the breach, erect obstacles along the path of violence and warfare, and create a climate of purposeful politics Else the jeopardy to state and society in Pakistan shall augment” The sponsors were worried about the direction in which Pakistan’s major political parties had taken the country “Successive governments had failed to rein in corruption, which is eating into the vitals of the society The continuous criminalization of politics is widening the gulf between the state and the people” For this reason, the founders of the Citizen’s Voice implored “Pakistan’s leaders to embark on a process of peace and civility, abjure confrontations and embrace compromise by negotiation, and take a decisive turn toward progressive and democratic reforms for a humane and prosperous future Karachi is the appropriate starting point [for these efforts]”

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