Mail: info@asinstitute.org




A. S. Institute Experiments A Get-Together

July 12, 2009

As part of its Students Outreach Project, Alternate Solutions Institute experimented a get-together in a local hotel in Lahore on April 2, 2009. About 35 selected students and young people were invited to the get-together and they were asked to bring one or two of their fellows and friends interested in ideas.  



As part of its Students Outreach Project, Alternate Solutions Institute experimented a get-together in a local hotel in Lahore on April 2, 2009. About 35 selected students and young people were invited to the get-together and they were asked to bring one or two of their fellows and friends interested in ideas. 

In the hall, we got arranged 6 round tables around which 7 chairs were put in a half circle. Extra-chairs were also available. At a corner was placed the rostrum with mic. On the left and right sides were placed tables on which were placed our publications in sufficient number. On the inside walls of the hall were displayed 15 colorful banners of various sizes inscribed with various provocative ideas and quotes. Such as: "Never forget everything Hitler did in Germany was legal;" "Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."
 
 
 
When all the expected participants had arrived, the Executive Director of the Institute, Khalil Ahmad made a short announcement. He said:
 
 
 
Dear Participants! It's an informal get-together. There will be no formal speeches or question-answer sessions. But what's the purpose of this get-together then, you would ask. To be precise, the purpose is net-working. Actually, what Alternate Solutions Institute is doing we want to put it before you. We want to invite you, provoke you to have a look at that. We are open to you. Come see what we are doing. Discover us. You will find here various ideas inscribed on the displayed banners. Our publications are being displayed here. We too are here in your midst. Come see us, feel us, think us, discuss us, criticize us, debate us. And if you find these ideas, and our mission, our values, appealing, if they attract you, provoke you, come join us, share our work with us. We are open to you and welcome you!
 
They were also told that the books and other publications displayed here are for them to choose and take home free of cost. The only price, if any, we would expect them to pay is their interest in what we are doing.
 
This proved to be a happy surprise for the participants whose number surpassed 50. As usually they expect that they will be 'subjected' to speeches, presentations, etc, there was no such thing. They were not asked to make any speeches or presentations either. They were left on their own to explore, discover, discuss, or not to do any thing whatsoever. In a sense, it was an exercise in total freedom. No one from our Institute tried to intervene with them.
 
But what we saw was another surprise, this time for us. The participants rushed to the tables where our publications were displayed. They were reading the banners inscribed with ideas and quotes. There was hectic activity: they were choosing books, grabbing them, reading them, turning the pages and wading through them, discussing them. Everybody was busy doing this or that thing. It was marvelous! They enjoyed this freedom on the part of some as surprising and on the part of others as unusual. But somehow they all made use of it and appreciated it.
 
 
It may be noted here that we did not ask any participant to do this or that activity but only when they asked for any thing or raised a question and then he/she was responded to. When the Executive Director was invited by the groups of the participants or individuals only then he joined them and had a talk with them.
 
We have pictures taken of the various stages of this novel experiment some of which are being attached with this report. Three group photos were also made: female participants, male participants, and all the participants.  
 
After about one and half hours, the Executive Director of the Institute, Khalil Ahmad made another short announcement. He said:
 
 
 
Taking advantage of this occasion, we want to launch a campaign of the Alternate Solutions Institute. It's Sign the Charter of Liberty Campaign. You have seen among our publications here a booklet, Charter of Liberty. At the end of this Charter a number of demands have been made. These demands are based on the Fundamental Rights given in the Constitution of 1973, and since then which have been consigned to oblivion, only to be discovered during the last two years of the rule of law movement, and due to the courage of our Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. We insist on making these Fundamental Rights inviolable. These demands, in addition to the Charter of Liberty booklet, can be found at the back of a form available with us. It's the Sign the Charter of Liberty form. I invite you to sign this form. But you are free to sign it or not to sign it.
 
Then were invited Pervaiz Akhtar, member Board of Advisors of the Institute, and Farrukh Shahzad, a young lawyer, to kickstart the Sign the Charter of Liberty Campaign by putting their signatures on the forms. This putting of their signatures was cheered with clapping. With this simple ceremony was formally launched our Sign the Charter of Liberty Campaign.
 
 
 
Surprisingly, most of the participants asked for the forms and signed them at the spot. Also, some of the participants on their own chose to be members of the Institute and asked for the membership forms and signed them then and there.
 
At the end, refreshments were served. This experiment lasted for about three hours.
 
Here are the Measurable Indicators of the success of this experiment:
 
No. of registered participants: 51
 
No. of female participants: 23
 
No. of male participants: 28
 
No. of membership forms signed at the spot: 5
 
No. of Sign the Charter of Liberty forms signed at the spot: 35
 

Serial No.
Details of the items
No. of items brought to the event
No. of items brought back
1
Awami Falaahi Riasat ki Kahani Becharay Jonathen ki Zabani (Urdu translation of Ken Schoolland’s The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey)
 
35
5
2
Greatest Battle for the Rule of Law in Pakistan
 
35
2
3
Charter of Liberty
 
35
3
4
Economic Freedom of the World 2005 Annual Report
 
30
5
5
International Property Rights Index 2007
 
15
1
6
International Property Rights Index 2009
 
20
Nil
7
Civil Society Report on Climate Change 2007
 
10
Nil
8
Ideas for a Free and Responsible Society CD
 
30
14
9
Fundamental Rights (1973 Constitution of Pakistan)
 
30
2
10
A World without Rules, By Dr. Khalil Ahmad (Photocopied article)
 
30
2
11
Siege from Within, By Dr. Khalil Ahmad (Photocopied article)
 
30
2

 
Net cost of the event in Pak Rupees: 31, 173
US $ at the current exchange rate: 388
 
Please note that a slide-show of the event is available.
 
 
--
Report prepared by
Khalil Ahmad

 



Photo Gallery