Time for another CoD

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ADDRESSING a public gathering at the PPP stronghold in Interior Sindh the other day, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the PPP leadership to respect the Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed by former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto back in 2006 — a historic and extraordinary document in which the two parties pledged to respect each other’s mandate and end politics of vendetta. Though some elements called it ‘Muk Muka’ but we understand it was significant as it united the two main parties on one platform to wage a joint fight for restoration of democracy in the country. It was also the result of the CoD that we saw a smooth transition of power in 2013 after the completion of the tenure of an elected government.
Quite recently the top PML (N) leadership including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and incumbent Shahid Khaqan Abbassi have repeatedly called for a grand national dialogue amongst political parties to evolve consensus as to how the issues and challenges facing the country can best be addressed. Abbassi’s speech at Naushero Feroze reminding the PPP of its commitments towards CoD could also be seen in the same context. Given the current political situation and the way social media is being used to ridicule the opponents and politicise the society, it is need of the hour that political and religious leadership sit together and decide some viable code of ethics to save the society from total disaster. Indeed there should be no compromise or deal on the accountability process as it must be across the board and go unhindered yet smear and mudslinging campaign against each other must come to an end. Whilst the role of the opposition is very pivotal in highlighting the problems being faced by the people and pointing out flaws in governance, all parties should commit in the new CoD that mandate of the ruling government will be respected at all costs as continuation of the system is the only antidote to strengthen democratic norms and traditions, as stressed by the PM, for development of the country. As next general elections are just round the corner, signing such a document at this point in time will indeed be in the interests of all political parties. And the most important clue to flourish democratic traditions in the country is that all the political parties and their leaders need to learn respecting the State institutions especially the ECP and the Supreme Court no matter if their judgments go against or in favour of them. Rule of law must prevail and be respected if we really want to emerge as a rising nation.