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April 9, 2018
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Stigma of unconstitutional rule

National

April 9, 2018

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“We cannot hold our posts with this filth of {unconstitutional rule} on our faces and foreheads”, said Chief justice Saqib Nisar while speaking recently at the ceremony of the Supreme Court Bar Association held to name the SCBA auditorium after the name of late human rights activist Asma Jehangir. The chief justice further said, “There will only be democracy, democracy and constitutional rule in this country.” These heart-warming words of the top judge represent the aspirations of the people who are overwhelmingly supportive of the democratic rule in the country. The recent debate on the 18th Amendment has squarely confirmed the level of commitment of the people in favour of the constitutional rule in the country as already empirically established in various surveys and studies conducted time-to-time in the past. The absence of comments in favour of the reversal of the 18th Amendment in public domain spoke volumes of people’s rejection of the mindset and such contemplation which were flying high and thick recently. The DG (ISPR) did the right thing by distancing the so-called doctrine from the public polemic on the subject. Living to its repute as pro-constitutional rule, the PPP at the outset, before the DG (ISPR) clarification, took the firm position rejecting such endeavours with the resolve to defend the amendment considering it as the lynchpin of the Constitution. Regretfully, the pliant politicians maintained mind-numbing silence on the subject presumably emanating from their mode of appeasement. That may be loathsome and brazenly short-sighted to the core.

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari while paying rich tributes to the ‘Great Bhutto’ on his 39th anniversary of martyrdom at Ghari Khuda Bux criticised the dictators and the mindset declaring in unequivocal terms that ugly scene of derailment of democracy would not be allowed to revisit in Pakistan come what may. “The constitutional rule will not be allowed to roll back” announced Chairman Bilawal Bhutto in his speech to the big charged congregation attended by workers who had thronged there from all parts of the country in large number. The words of the heir of Bhutto’s legacies had the inspiring effect on the charged audiences who responded with one loud voice assuring their all-out support for the continuity of constitutional rule under his leadership. Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in his message on the 39th martyrdom anniversary stated, ‘Today as we rededicate ourselves to the political ideals of Shaheed Bhutto, we also pledge to protect and defend democracy, individual freedom and provincial autonomy.”

Undoubtedly, only constitutional rule in country, like all other countries, may put the country on the trajectory of peace, prosperity and stability on sustainable basis. All other models of tyrannical rule or even so-called benevolent regimes present failed models of governance for want of people’s participation. Such models can be precisely described as catalyst to short term sporadic gains for accruing long term pains for the people. The reason, dictatorship gets worse with the passage of time whereas the continuity of the constitutional rule gets better with the passage of time in terms of services delivery to the people along with improvement governance. The people are genuinely treated as stakeholders in democracy and their empowerment enable them to have more control of their lives. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s prophetic saying that democracy is the only political system that is imbedded in a system of automatic adjustments and corrections. It has the capacity to absorb the ups and downs of time and history without the rhythm of the process of the nation building. On the contrary, the tyrant system collapses with the ouster of the despot because people do not take the ownership of such system because of its imposition from above. Dictators and dictatorships end up in the dock of history invariably to face the curdling judgment filled with scorn from all sides all the times.

However, the compulsive megalomaniac mindset cannot resist the temptation of power and as such manipulate to create apocalyptic political situation in the country for using it as a springboard to jump up in the corridors of power giving damn to the legitimacy of the means. The task is easier for them in the countries where fragile democracies have been grappling to fight for the other day. Such forces even contemplate to pre-empt the political resolution of the so-called political crisis. The best illustration of this notorious strategy is of General Ziaul Haq who imposed martial law in the country the next day when Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his press conference, during previous night, agreed to hold new elections in the country as per the demand of the PNA, alliance of the then Opposition parties. What happened afterwards is heart-wrenching history as the country had never recovered from the horrendous aftermaths of the military rule of ferocious dictator General Ziaul Haq. The people were chained in the fetters of martial law of the worst kind for more than a decade.

Earlier, during Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto time the country was riding the wave of respect and dignity among the countries of the world in general and of the Muslim world in particular. In the Muslim world, Pakistan was a brand name of Muslim unity, leadership and military powerhouse striving for the collective redemption of the Ummah that was inconsequential at the world stage despite sitting on the huge energy reserves instrumental of running the world economies. The sordid juggernaut of the dictator put the country on the reverse gear of retrogression preceded by abysmal human rights violations, extremism and terrorism, and worst of all serving as proxy for the other countries in the Afghan war that had been choking the national life in all despicable forms and manifestations since then. Dictator’s hands were undoubtedly stained with the blood of the thousands of civilians and the brave soldiers who had been killed in the war started by him for his trivial consideration of perpetuating his illegitimate rule.

Shaheed ZA Bhutto enviable legacies are worth protecting and worth promoting for the resurrection of Pakistan closest to the vision of the Founder of the nation and the founder of the PPP who wanted Pakistan a democratic welfare country where citizens had equal rights regardless of their faith, creed, ethnicity, cast or gender. The unanimous Constitution of 1973 given by Shaheed ZA Bhutto was the dream of Pakistani came true after 23 years of independence because it represented the aspirations of the people right across the country. India promulgated the constitution just after two years after independence, 1949. The Constitution of 1973 laid down the foundations of a democratic Pakistan, ensuring an effective participation of the people in governmental affairs through their elected representatives. It is indeed big responsibility on the shoulders of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto as an heir in particular and of the PPP leaders and workers in general to protect the Constitution in its entirety that gave the people identity and dignity as the ultimate stakeholders. The PPP is committed to stand guard against the usurpers’ misadventures considering it as the sacred obligation bestowed upon them by their most popular leader who sacrificed his life but refused to succumb to the tyranny of General Ziaul Haq.

The PPP and its leadership will never lag behind when the question of people’s right and their welfare is at stake. Its history of struggle for the restoration of democracy and to ensure its continuity even under the most hostile conditions spoke volumes of the level of its commitment to preserve and promote the legacy of its founding father no matter whatever the cost. Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s lives are full of untiring struggle that they had launched for the restoration of the constitutional rule in the country. Dictator could not break their will as they had to undergo humiliating and painful conditions but they braced it with unflinching courage. Their struggle came to fruition after all as democracy was wrested back from the jaws of two dictators by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Today’s democracy in the country largely owed to the struggle of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto for the furtherance of the ultimate mission of empowerment of the people that was granted to them first time by Shaheed ZA Bhutto. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has taken the baton to carry on the mission of two great Bhuttos. He is perfectly poised to undertake the mission because he has the unwavering commitment, courage and deep understanding of the history to come up to the expectations as custodian of rich legacies.

Pakistan’s nuclear programme is as another proud legacy of ZA Bhutto who matured it making Pakistan’s defence impregnable. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto inducted state-of-the-art missile technology thus completing the narrative of full spectrum defence. It offers territorial integrity of the country in absolute terms because no aggressor can cast an evil eye on the country. PPP is committed to continue to develop and upgrade the nuclear deterrence considering it the distinctive legacy of the founding father of the PPP.

Shaheed ZA Bhutto internationalised the Kashmir issue with exceptional and thrilling diplomatic precision, and urged the international community to implement its commitment made with the Kashmiri people to hold plebiscite. The issue had been hanging heavily on the conscience of the international community since long, he once observed. He also declared February 5th as Kashmir Solidarity Day, the day when Pakistani nation expresses solidarity with the Kashmiri people every year in their just struggle for the realisation of inalienable right of self-determination. PPP stands committed to this and will continue supporting the Kashmiri people pro-actively considering it as the legacy of Shaheed Bhutto. Also, the question of human rights is of immense importance for the PPP ideology.

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