Vital issues approved in jiffy
There are two kinds of Constitutions, of democratic States, run on majority rule, and of one party authoritarian States. A democratic Constitution is for all citizens, an authoritarian Constitution to grant powers to the Party. There is no such thing as truth, independence, law and justice. The Party interests are supreme truth is whatever the interest of the party, justice is what is in the interest of the Party. Then a Party is its custodian. In a democratic society the custodian of the Constitution are Courts and the people not a party. The Custodians of the Constitution are the people. Period. People of all shades of opinion and not of one opinion. Let therefore no Party claim that ‘we’ gave the 1973 Constitution, ‘we’ gave the Eighteenth Amendment, ‘we’ are its Custodians unless of course it claims to be a totalitarian party- Rulers should learn some humility and stop trumpeting credit for their party when it is the result of effort of all parties. Indeed the Eighteenth Amendment was a historic event and much of it is praise worthy, such as restoring the legislative supremacy of Parliament and doing away with Article 58.( 2 b) of the Constitution. True much of it is praise worthy but there are some unfortunate negative elements in it – it was passed in a way no democratic Constitution of any country worth mentioning was passed- deliberated in secrecy and passed in a jiffy, just in two days, by a yes and no voice vote. This is not how a Constitution supposedly a durable document is approved. It could be called unjustified haste. No three readings, no debate, no second look at the draft of the new provisions.
Not befitting the dignity a Constitution commands. Because of this haste, it is possible that some of its provisions may create problems in the long run, more important of it are provincialization, deleting the concurrent list, deleting the requirement of periodic elections in the Party, naming the NWFP as Pakhtunkhwa with feeble Khyber prefixed to its name. One fears that the Provincialization will not lead to a provincial autonomy which dismembered Yugoslavia. I wish that my fears would be proved wrong. I fear unbridled provincialism having witnessed its disastrous results on Yugoslavia “Pakhtunkhwa” might lead to increased ethnicity We are seeing Hazara reacting strongly on this ethnic nomenclature. It can have repercussions for demand of making such provinces in Balochistan, Punjab, Karachi, and other ethnic communities. Asif Ezdi has written on some worrisome implications of new provisions and those fears are not unfounded. The validity of these forebodings will become manifest in time to come. A historic document needed to have been accorded more open discussions and more debate on the new provisions. Even in the Communist system where no open debate was permitted in the Assemblies, the proposed new important laws were placed in the local party offices at the “agitpunkt” (?) agitation point- for eliciting public reaction.
Why the mandatory requirement stipulated in the 1073 Constitution of having Party elections in all political parties have been deleted by the Eighteenth Amendment. ? It will perpetuate family controls of the Party. The curse of Pakistan politics is presence of family monopoly and waderaism. Because MQM stands against these two malaise, although faces in its top leadership have remained on the scene, it is said to be gaining popularity in the wadera and family controlled areas It is unfortunate that Nawaz Sharif did not voice objections to the proposed Constitution. He appeared briefly on the scene and then chose to go along with the draft. He seemed to have given new meaning in the political dictionary to politics of reconciliation . This has affected his leadership to some extent. Only future will be a judge whether the weak points in the Eighteenth Amendment will cause worry or not. It now depends on how they are implemented. Constitutional practices are also part of Constitution.
The mysterious appearance of Dr Aafia Siddiqi’s daughter on the doors of her sister in Karachi was a shadow play. She speaks only English, with what accent, British or American, not any Urdu. So she has been in an English speaking environment. Her return to Pakistan is a trick to defuse the public anger on America’s insulting treatment to Aafia, but the only way America can white wash its image of a tormentor of captive frail Muslim lady is by freeing her from the torture center of American jail. Aafia’s sister’s ignoring to look deeper into putting Maryam on her door reminds me of the Urdu couplet: Wipe out the perspiration from your forehead, Neither we understood from where you are coming, Nor we will ask from where have you been. (pasina ponch-hey apni jibin say, Na ham samjhe na ap aye kahin say.)
She was very obliging in not pursuing the query further. Because as is in Urdu poetry: Asking questions was intended to put me to embarrassment; because it is known what happened and why it happened. (Pursishey ahwal se maqsad tha ruswai meri, Because it was known what happened and why). While ignorance was bliss another case where our leaders and people are going berserk is the marriage of Shoaib-Sania. Perhaps they know not what is the mood in India of the Indian Muslims. Sorry, let me say just this much I know better.