KARACHI: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Saturday said the future of Pakistan lay in democratic polity, transparent governance, tolerance and a society where the citizens were empowered.
The Quaid-e-Azam, he said, had envisaged Pakistan to be a tolerant, progressive, welfare state with a federal parliamentary form of government. However, that character of the state was unfortunately changed, he added.
He was addressing the students and faculty of Bahria University here at a seminar on the importance of constitutional rule and a book launching ceremony, said a press release.
Rabbani said the August 1947 speech of Quaid-e- Azam clearly stated the purpose and the direction that the new state of Pakistan was to take.
He said dictatorship was an anti-thesis to federalism and parliamentary democracy. After the enactment of 1973 Constitution, he said, no dictator had the courage to abrogate it as it was a consensus document of the parliament and the federating units and, therefore, it was held in abeyance or suspension.
Basic structure of the 1973 Constitution, he added, was changed through 8th Amendment with over 50 amendments seeking to centralize power at the cost of provincial autonomy. That caused polarization between the federating units among themselves and the federation, he added.
The Senate Chairman said the 18th Constitutional Amendment converted Pakistan to the concept of participatory federalism and devolved 17 federal ministries, repealed the Concurrent Legislative List, gave ownership to the provinces of their natural resources and strengthen the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
The CCI after the 18th Amendment, he said, was a body that was parallel to the Federal Cabinet. It would be headed by the Prime Minister, constituted within 30 days of his taking oath and would have its own independent secretariat.
He said according to Articles 153-154 of the 1973 Constitution, the CCI was to exercise control and supervision over items in the Federal Legislative List Part-II, which included all federal regulatory bodies and other such institutions made or functioning
under a federal law.
He said the National Accountability Bureau had outlived its utility. He had written an open letter given the details of a new commission with an independent investigation and prosecuting agency having representation at the board level of all relevant stakeholders, he said, adding a copy of that letter had been sent to the parliamentary committee revisiting the NAB law.
He further said academic freedom in universities and literature along with the coffee house culture was deliberately curbed during dictatorship through state policy so that enlightened thought could not develop and the citizens would be fed that what the state wanted.
“As a consequence, after such figures as Faiz Ahmed, Jalib and John Alia and others we have failed to produce people of even lesser caliber. That is why a counter narrative against terrorism is not being developed,” he remarked.
The counter narrative against terrorism, he said, could only be developed through such institutions and individuals and not by religious extremism. – APP