Debate should end

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OPPOSITION parties in the Senate on Monday warned the government against making any attempt to introduce a presidential system, which, they said, resulted in disintegration of the country in 1971, as they blocked a bill seeking amendment in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award. A heated debate took place in the upper house of Parliament after a lawmaker from the ruling alliance, Senator Barrister Ali Khan Saif, who belongs to the MQM-P, moved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Amendment of Article 160) with regard to the NFC Award.
It is an unfortunate trend in Pakistani politics that both the government and opposition tend to keep the pot boiling for the sake of vested and petty interests but at the cost of stability and continuity. In line with this policy, controversies are triggered on important but settled issues and as a result the system keeps on shaking. We hear debates frequently on creation of new provinces especially South Punjab despite the fact that none of the parties enjoy the necessary strength at the federal or provincial level to take tangible steps in this regard. However, national unity and harmony is badly affected by bitter discussions and fanciful propositions in this regard. Similarly, there is no end to demands by some circles for changes in the famous 18th Constitutional Amendment which was enacted unanimously and resulted in grant of greater powers and autonomy to the federating units. Presidential system is yet another issue that keeps on resurfacing in Pakistani politics off and on despite the fact that no system is perfect or flawed but it is our attitudes that make it so. We have had presidential system in the country for quite some time but the experiment did not prove successful and instead the country was harmed in different ways. As for parliamentary system, it is delivering elsewhere in the world and there is no justification it should not in Pakistan provided all stakeholders strictly follow the constitutional provisions and do not interfere in the domain of one another. There is also an impression that presidential system is prone to manipulation while elected representatives of the people in the parliamentary system keep aspirations of the masses in view in decision-making. Instead of making wild suggestions of jolting the existing system, all stakeholders should sit together to have thorough discussion as to how the parliamentary system can be strengthened and allowed to work as per spirit of the Constitution.

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