15 April | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Social justice as key factor for political stability, inclusive growth

At heart of social justice, democracy is one such promise that ensures equal representation of all communities in policymaking

We commemorate World Social Justice on every February 20 globally to remind ourselves that social justice must be held as the aqua vitae of all human affairs. Also, social justice means to develop an atmosphere that is inclusive of all the communities living in a region. In order to dive into this concept, let us first understand the act of social injustice, when people at large feel that social injustice is in action and ruining their lives. Do authorities commit social injustice, or is it something that comes under individual jurisdiction? It is a bit complicated to blame a single entity for the perpetuation of such ‘evil’ forces that harm the fabric of a society. However, one can think of multiple instances where repercussions of social injustice appear to be as real as the reader themselves.

It has always been a heated debate among communities living together to attain an equal social status. Democracy, which is at the heart of social justice, is one such promise that ensures equal representation of every community living on any soil because then, every citizen of a country has the right to vote and therefore attains the status of choosing a leader, who will look after the interests and become the voice of that particular community in the parliament. Recently, Pakistan has just held the general elections on February 8, 2024, the most important event for citizens to exercise their right to vote and elect candidates of their choice that will hopefully rescue the people from the political downfall that has been overshadowing the South Asian nation for the last several months.

‘Principles of social justice must never be compromised’

The atmosphere of instability, lack of proper leadership, declining trust of citizens in the institutions, high inflation, and price hiking of basic commodities etc are some of the key factors that pave the way for injustice and unrest among the people. For instance, All Pakistan Textiles Mills Association has called upon the federal government to review the energy rates to make the exports competitive in the foreign market. If this ‘price hiking’ issue is not addressed sooner than according to the association, fifty percent of the textile firms may shut down in coming weeks. This means that the apparel sector is at the ‘risk’ of shutting down, causing widespread unemployment and social unrest.

It is frightening to think that the people who were earning their bread and butter earlier would now be reduced to nothing in a single stroke of misfortune. This kind of treatment would eventually lead to protests that could potentially turn into violent ones. If I keep on painting such events, I am not sure if I would end up with an image of Phoenix (which symbolizes prosperity in Chinese culture) or an assimilation to Guernica (A painting by Pablo Picasso that depicts German bombing of a town in Basque country in northern Spain). Unemployment is only one such factor related to the worsening economic conditions that escalate social injustice, in our surroundings we have much more at hand to deal with.

To treat ailments that can prove to be fatal for the growth of a nation, the principles of social justice must never be compromised when making national or foreign policies. It is the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to ensure that every sector of the society is equally represented. We have seen an era of activism in response to the perpetration of social injustice. There are activists raising their voices for Kashmiris, Palestinians and Africa or for the right of transgender community. These social activists believe that human life value and freedom of individuals should be upheld as supreme virtues. This is not just the case for marginalized communities, but recently a surge in the environmental related opinions have been recorded.

COP28 is a response to all the activism being done in the name of environmental justice, sustainability and preservation. People are being made aware of their place on earth and their equal contribution to promote the environmental cause. Hence, all the struggle that is done in the name of social justice, 20th February is the day we commemorate all those selfless acts that have laid the global foundations of social justice. This day has been made sacred, to honor the human resilience in the face of all the challenges that hinder equity and justice. All such noble deeds of our past, all the excellence of present, and the future considerations in this regard, this day is to remember the cause of social justice for all.