Imposition of emergency | By Kanwar M Dilshad

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Imposition of emergency

ON the basis of imposition of an Indian Prime Minister Indra Ghandhi-like emergency and change in the system through various formulas are being heard in the corridors of Parliament nowadays.

The country’s major opposition parties see a systematic and planned campaign behind circulation of rumours about imposition of some kind of an emergency in the country and on getting talk in social and mainstream media in favour of presidential form of government.

It’s a historical fact that imposition of emergency in India by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 25 June 1975 that remained in force till 21 March 1977.

This emergency is regarded as the darkest chapter in the history of Democratic India as during this period the country saw a crackdown on civil liberties and stifling of dissenting voices.

This emergency had also been reported lying imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after an election headed by tribunal justice Sahana had convicted her on charges of rigging in election 1975.

Electoral experts are seeing same episode as Election Commission of Pakistan declassified key documents in PTI foreign funding case and regular hearing on day to day basis is going to be held with effect from 1st February.

This is unfortunately not the first time that such rumours have germinated in our political landscape that is clearly quite fertile for their growth.

Talk of a presidential system recurs at fairly regular intervals and is supported by the usual suspects who blame parliamentary democracy …and not the mal-intent and incompetence of those running it.. for failure of governance.

In any case, if the present parliamentary status collapsed due to bad governance and controversial elections then the people of Pakistan prefer a presidential form of government on the lines of United States of America or France, then there is a constitutional way of making this change.

By a two third majority, parliament can make a constitutional amendment and change the parliamentary form into a presidential form of government. There is no other legal way of doing this.

The opposition is of the view that the government is behind such a campaign to dis-track the people of attention from real issues and its failure in every field.

There is whispering that government is planning to hold referendum to obtain vote of confidence in favour of the presidential system.

As per Article 48 and sub section 16 the government is empowered to hold a referendum on any matter of national importance but Prime Minister in consultation with president has to refer the matter to a joint sitting of Parliament and if it is approved in a joint sitting, the Prime Minister may cause such matter to be referred to a referendum in the form of a question that is capable of being answered by either Yes or No.

For the guidance of all concerned I am quoting part × Emergency provisions of the constitution and an Article 232 deals all matters in detail.

So as per Article 232 and sub-section 2, while a proclamation of Emergency is in force, the President may, by Order, declare that the right to move any court for the enforcement of such of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter 1 of part 2 as may be specified in the Order and any proceeding in any court which is for the enforcement, or involves the determination of any question as to be the infringement, of any of the Rights so specified, shall remain suspended for the period during which the Proclamation is in force and any such Order may be made in respect of the whole or any part of Pakistan.

Pakistan politics needs to settle down to a rhythm that is predictable in a systematic way and does not spring surprises when none are needed. As the Imran government is stood on week wickets so these rumours would die a natural death.

—The writer is former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.

 

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