Thursday June 20, 2024

Our real asset

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
April 15, 2022

I have attended countless sessions of parliament during my more than 20 years of parliamentary experience. However, when Mian Shehbaz Sharif, after being elected as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan, was delivering a historic speech in the National Assembly I felt the moment was new, unique and exciting. These historic moments were actually the beginning of a new dawn, a new era in the form of a peaceful democratic struggle for the transfer of power.

I would like to pay tribute to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and other legendary judges of the Supreme Court who made history by taking a strong decision for rule of law. They proved that Pakistan is a great democracy where the ideology of necessity is buried forever. The neutral role by our military leadership has also won the hearts of the people.

In the National Assembly session, I was deeply saddened by the negligence and defiance of my party's leader Imran Khan to fulfill his election manifesto, promises made to the people and the constitution of Pakistan. On various occasions, I gave him the example of Nelson Mandela, who granted amnesty after freeing South Africa. I reminded Khan that personal revenge was not taken in the state of Madinah but at the time of the conquest of Makkah even the worst of enemies were granted amnesty. Alas, those in this party who chanted the slogan of the state of Madinah always promoted slander, intolerance and abusive language. They forgot that their religion does not like proud and arrogant persons. During the previous tenure, diplomatic norms were badly violated by making baseless allegations against our allied countries.

On this occasion, the historic speech of Asif Ali Zardari, the uncrowned king of Pakistan's reconciliation politics, also echoed in my mind. At the time of the appointment of Imran Khan as prime minister, he had said on the floor of parliament that we will not bring you down; it is up to you to fall. Accompanied by his young son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he saved the country from moving onto darker paths. The contributions of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the son of great Maulana Mufti Mahmood Sahib, for leading the movement for strengthening democracy are also remarkable.

The 73rd constitution was passed on April 10, 1973 and coincidentally, April 10, 2022 was the day when the violators of the constitution were ousted by parliament. Similarly, on April 10, 1986, when Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan, she was welcomed by a huge crowd of public in a very impressive way.

Mian Shehbaz Sharif has been given a great opportunity. He has earlier proved himself as the chief minister of Punjab; now he has the responsibility of the whole country. During his tenure, he paid special attention to good governance, law and order, infrastructure, health, education, agriculture and industrial sectors throughout the province.

However, I have been saying for a long time that no single person or political party has the solution to the problems being faced by Pakistan. Today, for the best interest of the country and the nation, all patriotic citizens should come forward and establish a consortium within the constitutional limits in which representatives from various political, parliamentary, religious, civil society, media and military are included. The only task before this consortium should be to serve the people by giving priority to the national interest through mutual consultation regardless of political affiliation.

While extending my heartfelt congratulations to Mian Shehbaz Sharif, I would like to suggest that next year when we will celebrate the golden jubilee of the constitution during his tenure, a public holiday should be declared and special ceremonies should be held in educational institutions. Our media must present special transmissions that show that the constitution of 1973 is our real asset and it is our national duty to protect it at any cost.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani