Parliamentary system facing challenges: experts

March 26,2019

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ISLAMABAD: Secretary General Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar Monday said that if a centrist or presidential form of government was imposed through back door, smaller provinces will demand parity in Parliament.

The warning was sounded by PPP Senator while speaking at a seminar on “Parliamentary System of Governance: Challenges and Way Forward” at SDPI in Islamabad here

Monday.

Barrister Naseem Ahmad Bajwa and MNA Romina Khurshid also addressed the seminar.

Farhatullah Babar said that the parity formula was imprudently applied on former East Pakistan to nutralise its majority status and smaller provinces would also demand parity in Assembly if any back door attempt was made to deprive them of their rights.

He said the Constitutional mechanisms namely Senate, Council of Common Interest (CCI), NFC and National Economic Council (NEC) were the building blocks of federation. “However the turning on its head of the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the legislature, judiciary and the executive was a great stumbling block against parliamentary democracy,” he said.

Reminding that the foundation of Pakistan lay in demand for provincial autonomy and four out of Quaid's 14 points centered around provincial autonomy, he said federal parliamentary structure guaranteed not only provincial autonomy but also the federation itself. “A resolution of the provincial autonomy issue had taken the wind out of Punjab bashing,” he said.

Farhatullah Babar said whether it was the breakup of Pakistan or the unrest in Balochistan and smaller provinces these were rooted in political alienation due to centric mindset envisaged in a presidential system. “The centrists, the bonaparts and the putshcists will not cease to

conspire, he said adding conspiracies against federal parliamentary system had not ended,” he said.

He said two critical elements of 18th amend were strengthening Article 6 so that no court could condone suspension or abrogation of the Constitution under any pretext and ending powers of President to sack elected governments and parliament. “However some elements were still trying to undo the effect of these far reaching amendments,” he said.

He said though there are challenges and shortcomings in the current parliamentary system, as no system is perfect, but that does not mean to demolish the whole system instead of fixing the weaknesses.

He called for strengthening the Senate, National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, Council of Common Interest and National Economic Advisory Council for improving the parliamentary system, adding that NFC awards can be linked with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achievements, improved human right situation and tackling extremism in the provinces.

While commenting on corruption, Babar said the system of accountability itself corrupted, where institutional corruption is on the rise and entire mechanism of accountability lost its credibility and meaning. “We should have a law of combating corruption, which should be applicable to all public servants,” he added.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, MNA, Romina Khursheed Alam said that it is the success of the current federal parliamentary system that all political parties arrived on a consensus and passed the historic 18th constitutional amendment and stood on principle position on various issues of national importance.

She said there are challenges and lacunas in the current system, but we should tackle the challenges through consensus.

She said it is unfortunate that only politician are being maligned and portrayed as corrupt through a deliberate propaganda, which should be stopped.


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