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Senate chairman’s proposal received well by political parties

August 14, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani’s proposal for an inter-institutional dialogue involving the civilian government, army and judiciary to strengthen the parliament, to let all organs work within their defined domains and to avert any clash among them has been received well by major political parties.

In his concluding speech as part of his travel on the GT Road in a cavalcade, deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that he accepts Rabbani’s initiative. He went further by saying that the Constitution will have to be amended to protect the sanctity of vote. “If we want a better future for Pakistan, we will need to change the system because it is infested with a virus which requires to be removed to keep Pakistan intact. Pakistan has already greatly suffered due to this virus that caused the East Pakistan debacle.”

Rabbani led Senate has unanimously decided to invite to its session the top brass of the three most powerful institutions of the State - the representatives of the civilian government and the military bureaucracy, and the Supreme Court chief justice for an inter-institutional dialogue. The invitation to the army would be extended through the prime minister since the military comes under the Executive as per the law of the land.

The Senate chairman has often echoed the theme that among the State institutions, the parliament is the weakest, which otherwise should be the strongest for having been elected by the people of Pakistan.

While Rabbani’s idea has been welcomed by most important political parties, his own party chairman Bilawal has disowned it. However, the young man came out with a good thought when he stated that the army should not be involved in any such process.

His rejection of Rabbani’s initiative also reflected his desire to have no communication with the federal government. He has stated that he would not even attend a telephone call
 from Nawaz Sharif. But his father has put a condition to any negotiations that the ousted prime minister should publicly apologize over his previous stand on the ouster of Yousuf Raza Gilani by the apex court.

It is but natural that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will not agree to any proposal of talks made by Nawaz Sharif even if it is plausible and convincing. Therefore, it has repeatedly dismissed as inconsequential his suggestion for a grand dialogue among political parties to rectify the ills of the system that often results in shunting out of prime ministers on flimsy and trivial grounds and which provides no punishment for dictators. When the ex-premier talked about the dialogue among political stakeholders, he too ruled out the PTI for his own reasons.

Since his deposition on July 28 by the Supreme Court, Nawaz Sharif has frequently mentioned grand national dialogue so that people’s mandate is respected and is not trampled by anyone. He has stressed that the electorate should have the right to vote in or oust any prime minister.

However, while the PTI is opposed to Nawaz Sharif’s proposal, it has not rejected outright Rabbani’s move. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been quoted as saying that the deposed premier has no credibility now as he has been disqualified by the Supreme Court, but the Senate chairman was known as a credible person by all parties and he should take the leaders of all political parties into confidence about his plan. But Qureshi is not aware of the mechanism for the dialogue and who would represent the judiciary and the military. However, he urged Nawaz Sharif to ask his nominated Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to initiate such process in the National Assembly first.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) is also not averse to the dialogue suggested by Rabbani. Nawaz Sharif also wants to implement and improve on the Charter of Democracy (CoD) that he signed with Benazir Bhutto in London in 2006. But for the time being the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is not impressed by his idea. At the moment, it thinks that the former prime minister is in deep trouble and it should not take any step that alleviates his position in any way. This is the dilemma that is inflicting Pakistan’s politics since decades. It is not uncommon that partisan politics always comes in the way of a meaningful dialogue while its doors ought to be never closed for the betterment and strengthening of the democratic system. Its derailment never benefited any political force although some parties do rejoice such eventuality in the beginning.

Meanwhile, former Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Khan is also not averse to Rabbani’s plan and stated that the parliament is the weakest among power centres as judiciary, executive and dictators have been curtailing its role and going beyond their constitutional ambit.