The Constitutional package

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As I go through the second package of the constitution to the nation I find some glaring anomalies, which must be removed before the package becomes the part of the constitution of Pakistan.

The President must not be the Chief of the Army Staff, as it is, he is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces being the President of Pakistan, then why this additional armor on his coat. This does not behoove a statesman, which the President of Pakistan is expected to be.

The most controversial amendment 13 re-incorporated in this constitutional package, which debars a Member of assembly from floor crossing or expressing thereof. Nowhere in the world such a constitutional provision is there negating the fundamental rights of its citizen. The members of the parliament henceforth are expected to be men of conscience and not dumb driven herd of cattle picking up tensile falling from the table of the Prime Minister. And there is the President of Pakistan looking after the interest of Pakistan. The most that should be done is that floor crossing should be a subject of the impeachment committee of the country.

The National Security Council should consist of the following person: President of Pakistan, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly, Leader of Opposition in National assembly, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff and Chief of the Air Staff. Their decisions on national issues what so ever may be should be final and not open to wrangling in the law courts.

Since corruption has become a way of life in Pakistan it is imperative that the members of the armed forces should also come under the purview of the National Accountability Commission of Pakistan and the appointments of its Chairman and Members should be done through constitutional provision, each to be appointed by the President of Pakistan from a panel of three names for each post selected / recommended by the National Security Council.

Above all shall Pakistan, will ever be able to find a leader who is benevolent and works for the nation and the nation alone. Pakistan at the moment needs a benevolent despot irrespective of whatever has been said above.

Much importance is being laid to the Constitution of Pakistan of 1973, which had been approved by all section of the members of the parliament.

Thereafter seven amendments have been made by the majority vote of the same parliament, which had changed the face of the constitution. Fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan have been shelved from the very second day of its imposition, the President of Pakistan had been made a prisoner in the Presidency, so much so that the then opposition coined a slogan ” Release President Fazal Elahi.” His utility was finished; his position was like a piece of decoration. Prime Minister became number one authority of Pakistan because Prime Minister Bhutto was not satisfied with his number two position. The rigging in March 1977 elections was done to provide the Peoples Party two third majority in the Parliament to change the Constitution into Presidential form of government, because Mr. Bhutto did not feel comfortable with his de-jure number two position. Lord Acton had said ” Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” First you achieve power, then you use power and then you abuse power and finally you lose power. This is what happened in 1977. Democracy or no democracy, we have to learn a lesson from our own history, we do not have to go far into history to learn history, Pakistan’s life of fifty years has enough lesson to impart to the rulers to establish rule of good governance through justice and fair play.

The main point, which is missing in the constitutional package of President Musharraf, is that the provincial autonomy does not find place in this. The readers will remember that the Cabinet Mission plan sent by the British government, which was accepted by All India Muslim League under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam had allocated Defense, Foreign Affairs, Communication and Currency to the center while the other subjects were within the purview of the provinces. The present package as presented by the President does not mention at all any quantum of provincial autonomy to be awarded to the provinces, only the center under a strong President is the subject, which has been handled very admirably by the President. It is therefore suggested that quantum of provincial autonomy as suggested by Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) during the days of General Ziaul Haq should find place in this package if we are serious about the federation, otherwise the President may and will impose his package through brute force but it will not be with the consensus of the people of Pakistan, which he is aiming for. Let us not confuse the devolution plan of the district administration with this issue.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.

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