Need for systemic change


PAKISTAN’S political and economic leaders have called for systemic reforms and changes to economic and governance policies in order to overcome the ongoing crisis plaguing the country. During the “Reimagining Pakistan” seminar held in Karachi on Sunday, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and former PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar called for strict adherence to the Constitution and fundamental economic reforms as a way out of the ongoing political and economic crisis.

Leaving aside the general impression that the “Reimagining Pakistan” movement was aimed at formation of another ‘acceptable’ political force, the suggestions made by the three leaders and other speakers are worth consideration by all. What the country has seen during the last five years, made it absolutely clear that no political party or institution alone can address the challenges facing the nation. PTI remained in power for about four years and we have a coalition government representing almost all political forces minus PTI during the last one year but none of them could present a satisfactory solution to the malaise afflicting different spheres of life. There is no reason not to agree to the views of Shahid Khaqan who emphasized the need for political and constitutional reforms, and accepting the mistakes made in the past that have led to the current situation. Accept it or not, there is complete break-down of the constitutional and legal system of the country as well as overall governance because of free for all behaviour of different stakeholders and the problem would compound further if urgent measures were not taken to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. The Constitution offers a clear scheme of things to run affairs of the state but its disrespect, flagrant violations and interference in the domain of others have made mockery of the entire system. Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar had a point when he said that democracy was never allowed to be established in the country, and that the social contract of the State with its citizens via the Constitution was standing at its weakest position. Similarly, Miftah Ismail represented feelings of the people when he expressed serious concerns over the high levels of debt and inflation and urged a consensus on economic strategy. There is no denying the opinion that the situation was pretty precarious as people are getting frustrated and it is high time all major players initiate a national dialogue to find a way forward.