If the parliament and judiciary want to continue exercising their newfound powers, they have no option but to act strictly within the framework of the Pakistani Constitution
Pakistan is a surreal country. Only here we have long, protracted struggles for democracy and only here we are almost always ready to scuttle democracy. Perhaps Iskander Mirza was not all too wrong while making the assessment that democracy does not suit the genius of our people. An added qualification is that it does not suit the genius of the elites, in particular the unelected institutions of the state.
There is now a clear and present danger that the judicial review of the 18th Amendment will lead to a potential clash of the key organs of the state: the legislature and the judiciary. Pundits have also predicted that if such a situation arises, then a logjam will benefit the third force — Pakistan’s well organized formal institution, which is readily available to undertake crisis management. Perhaps such fears are slightly exaggerated and misplaced. But the reality is that Pakistani history teaches us some interesting though unsavoury lessons.
Curse of history
The Constitution of 1956 was drafted, almost after a decade of the new country’s formation, as the elites were not interested in changing the colonial structure of the state and its institutions. After much negotiation and a bit of arm-twisting, parity between the Eastern and the Western wings was achieved to finalise the basic law. However, the 1956 Constitution could not be enforced let alone implemented, as new elections were a risk for the national security establishment, which took charge of the country in 1958. The second moment arrived in 1970, when a political consensus arrived through election with divisive results, was once again scuttled by the unelected institutions and the West Pakistani elites. The results were tragic. 1977 was a third moment when the Bhutto administration and PNA movement agreed on a workable package for the future course of politics in the country. Even before this accord could reach the public domain, the Islamo-fascist General took the reins of power and thwarted the political consensus. There is a clear lesson here: a political consensus — wide-ranging, legitimate and inclusive — is a threat to the post-colonial state and the inherent contradictions of the Pakistani polity come into play the moment such compacts are arrived at. Continue reading
Filed under Constitution, human rights, Judiciary, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, Media, minorities, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Rights, secular Pakistan, Society, state
Posted by Raza Rumi
What an incredible achievement by Pakistan’s politicians, comparable to the historic national consensus reached in 1973 under the leadership of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when Pakistan’s Islamic, Federal and democratic constitution was voted in. Now 37-years after that, Pakistan’s politicians have done the entire nation proud once again, this time under the leadership of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani, by adopting 18th Amendment to the same Constitution by the same or higher degree of consensus (when all political parties, small or big, provincial or national, bar none) have come together. These leaders have decided to do away the massive damage done to the constitution (and the national fabric) by military dictators over the years – by Zia and Musharraf. In one sweeping motion, with more than 100 changes in different articles of the constitution, most of the original spirit embodying the parliamentary and federal structure of the constitution is being restored. The biggest change is in granting of long-delayed provincial autonomy by abolishing the Concurrent List as was demanded by the smaller provinces and in renaming NWFP as Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa, thus restoring the Pakhtoon (or the Pathan) identity of the Frontier province after 250-years of its desecration begun by the British and perpetuated by Pakistan’s military-dominated establishment. The Concurrent List should have been abolished by 1983 under the 1973 Constitution but it took 27 additional years.
Congratulations to all. Pakistan would be a stronger, prosperous and more stable a country as a result of what happened today. Continue reading
Daily Times 04 Feb 2010
Case registered in line with orders of Supreme Court over disappearance of Quetta resident Ali Asghar Bangalzai
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: Police in the provincial capital registered a case on Wednesday against former corps commander Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch and two senior ISI officials, in line with orders of a Supreme Court bench hearing a case related to the disappearance of a resident of the city, Ali Asghar Bangalzai.
The family of Bangalzai, a tailor master, registered the first information report (FIR) with the Sariab Police Station against the former corps commander, former ISI Quetta chief Brig Siddique and another senior ISI official identified only as Col Bangash. Continue reading
by Ali Arqam
PML(N) Leader Mian Nawaz Sharif has recently been highlighted by the American Press for his popularity in the Country. Aitzaz Ahsan has urged that America should join hands with him.He said. “If you befriend him, you can get him to move mountains.” Nawaz Sharif denied in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that he has had links with religious hardliners.Although members of the PML-N sometimes characterize the war on terror as America’s war and not Pakistan’s, Nawaz distanced himself from this view.We hope at least now when major political issues were resolved with the new Reconciliation strategy,two largest parties of the country will be focused against the most important threat we are facing as a nation. Nawaz Sharif clear stance at this time has the realization of the current situations as extremist elements have intensified their attacks towards Punjab. Along with it various reports are drawing attention towards the alarming influence of the sectarian elements in Southern Punjab. These elements are close allies of the Jihadi elements.The political leadership will come to a consensus towards that issue,the recent Interview has clear indication towards that.
INTERVIEW–Pakistan’s Sharif gives Obama plan cautious welcome Continue reading
We have heard of too many problems, challenges and crises. Here are a set of credible and do-able solutions by Shaheryar Azhar. Only if someone is listening. Raza Rumi
In an eternal echo reminiscent of Pakistan’s genesis, we have repeatedly abandoned our personal responsibility in addressing our fundamental issues of nationhood and governance at critical junctures of our history. Do we always need a foreign power to yank us out of our fantasies into reality and thus come to our so-called rescue?
Long before America mid-wived the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) deal between General Musharraf and PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhuto, this moderator and some others had argued repeatedly on the following lines: “It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out that if the largest political party (PPP) and the most powerful national institution (Army) can not see eye-to-eye on the most pressing issues, Pakistan can never be stable”. And yet, it took two years of painful negotiation with a lot of hand holding by America, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi for what? For Pakistan to resolve its domestic issue of internal transfer of power with the help of foreign friends. Can anything be more embarrassing than that? Once is fine, twice is too many and thrice must be curtains for any self-respecting nation! Continue reading
We are posting an impassioned voice of reason by Shaheryar Azhar, moderator of a thinking group of Pakistanis called “The Forum”. We are posting it for it represents the anguish most Pakistanis feel about the current situation in our beloved homeland. [Raza Rumi]
The Unraveling of Pakistan
“Pakistan is NOT unraveling”, I said in a voice pregnant with passion on February 7, 2009. The occasion was a small dinner at our apartment and I was responding to another forum member, who is an expert on terrorism with a well-reviewed book on Pakistan. She had just finished saying, “Pakistan is unraveling”.
And in support I had said the following:
1. Pakistan has just won a victory in Bajaur. And is now gearing up for a major fight in North and South Waziristan. The type of single-mindedness, spine and hard-headedness shown by the civilian government and the political cover provided to the armed forces was a major improvement over the Musharraf government. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Those of you who have read my previous articles know that I was a staunch Zardari supporter till recently. In my last article, written a few hours after the disqualification of Sharif brothers, I opined that Zardari was being misled by the establishment. But as events have unfolded, it has become abundantly clear that Zardari is apparently an equal partner with the establishment in the latest game to befool Pakistan and its people.
There is absolutely no constitutional, moral or procedural justification for imposition of Governor’s rule under Article 234 of the Constitution. It is the end of imagination. The conditions simply did not exist. Without going into the merits of the Supreme Court decision though there aren’t many, the proper course of action was for the governor to call upon the provincial assembly to elect a new chief minister. Instead governor raj was imposed. Continue reading