Saturday February 24, 2024

Golden Jubilee celebrations of 1973 Constitution: Farhatullah Babar proposes national register of Honour & Horror

April 02, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Advisory Committee on Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the 1973 Constitution has formally taken up discussion on a proposal to institute two national registers-- National Register of Fame & Honor” and “National Register of Shame & Horror”—to commemorate those who rendered sacrifices for upholding the Constitution and the other to condemn those who subverted it.

According to the proposal of Farhatullah Babar a white “Register of Honour and Fame” shall list those who drafted the Constitution and defended it with their life and liberty and a black “Register of Horror and Shame” shall record names of those who abrogated it or legitimised abrogation.

The 2-page proposal of Farhatullah Babar is part of the Advisory’s Committee’s agenda and was discussed at the fifth meeting on March 30 with almost every member supporting it.

However, the Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who was chairing the meeting of the National Assembly Advisory Committee on Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the 1973 two days back on Thursday deferred a decision on it, saying that it will be further discussed. The next meeting of the Advisory committee will be held on April 6.

Any celebration of the golden jubilee of the Constitution will be incomplete without devising a mechanism for making a clear cut distinction between those who made and upheld the Constitution and those who subverted it and plunged the nations in deep crisis, the mover said.

It says that according to Article 259 (2) of the Constitution a system of civil awards in the Order of Pakistan, Shujaat, Imtiaz, Quaid-i-Azam and Khidmat has been instituted with each Order having four descending categories of Nishan, Hilal, Sitara and Tamgha.

Members of armed forces are also conferred 5 different gallantry medals and 7 peacetime medals besides a host of non operation gallantry awards, campaign/war medals, long service medals, wound stripes and commemorative medals. The note says that War Medal 1971 was awarded during the period of hostilities and War Star 1971 was awarded for taking part in prescribed areas of operations. Tamgha-e-Istiqlal Pakistan was awarded to all military servicemen on active duty during standoff with India in 2001-02 and Tamgha-e-Azm awarded for war on terror in 2018.

Tamgha-e-Baqa to commemorate nuclear tests of 1988 and Sitara-e Eisar for services during the 2005 earthquake have also been awarded. Together there are about 60 awards and medal for the armed forces, he said.

The military personnel have even been given democracy related and independence struggle related awards such as Tamgha-e-Qayam-e-Jamhooriah in 1956, Tamgha-e-Sad Saala Jashan-e-Wiladat-e-Quaid-e-Azam in 1976, Jamhuriat Tamgha in 1988, Qarardad-e-Pakistan Tamgha in 1990 and Tamgha-e-Salgirah Pakistan in 1997. However, there is no mechanism for honouring Constitution related achievements nor to denounce those who abrogated it. The constitutional provision to punish those who abrogate it for treason has not been fully implemented, he said, adding that a modest beginning be made by instituting white and black colour national registers and these may be respectively called “National Register of Fame & Honor” and “National Register of Shame & Horror”, the proposal says.

It said that two black plaques installed in the Senate symbolically express remorse for the two periods when the Upper House remained suspended and there were no names to be inscribed on the plaques mentioning names of senators. The formal proposal also makes reference to a 2004 Private Members Bill in the Senate. It called for, among other things, the following: “The names of the person(s) thus determined guilty of high treason shall be mentioned in all state documents, records and text books in academic institutions as traitors of Pakistan and the title of traitor shall invariably appear whenever and wherever their names are mentioned. Further, “There shall be a National Register of Shame and Horror in which the names of all such person(s) determined to be guilty of high treason and those determined to be their collaborators shall be recorded in black. This National Register of Shame shall be kept on display in the Parliament and all institutions of the state. On Independence Day and on March 23 each year when civil and military awards are announced the names in the National Register of Shame and Horror shall also be caused to be published followed by denunciation by the head of the state and the Parliament”.

It is important that Members of Parliament, politicians, journalists, judges, and civil society members, who risked their lives and freedoms for upholding the Constitution, are recognized and honoured. At the same time those who abrogated and subverted the constitutional edifice and/or abetted it need be at least formally named and shamed if they still cannot be punished”, according to the proposal.