Supremacy of Constitution

THANKS to commitment of Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani that the nation, for the third consecutive year, celebrated the Constitution Day on April 10. Special session of the Senate was convened on the day where speakers reiterated their pledge to protect, preserve and defend each and every word of the sacred document, which, in the words of Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq unites us as a nation with liberty, social justice and equality.
Forty-four years ago a democratically elected Assembly and government, led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, succeeded in its endeavour to give the country a consensus document that ensures provincial autonomy, rule of law and protection of rights of federating units under a Federation. The Constitution, which is comprehensive in nature, contains necessary provisions regarding Islamic ideology, which is foundation of the State; Federal system; parliamentary form of government; bicameralism; protection of fundamental rights; and independence of the judiciary, which, if implemented in letter and in spirit, would have made Pakistan one of the best democracies on the globe. Fortunately, despite repeated attempts aimed at disfiguring the documents, which began from the initial years, it still serves and there is broad national consensus on its provisions. Regrettably, instead of amending ourselves as per requirements of the Constitution, some political parties and personalities have been trying to bend the documents as per their own vested interests. We have seen that problems were there with or without Article-58/2(B) only because those at the helm of affairs pay scant respect to rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution and misused their powers and authority. While ZAB was accused of behaving like an autocrat as only the Prime Minister was empowered to dissolve the National Assembly, the Presidents who got powers to dissolve the Assembly at their discretion under Article 52-2/B misused the authority and sent elected governments packing on frivolous charges. There are numerous provisions of the Constitution that, even today, are either misused or not implemented due to various reasons and factors. This should have been the real source of concern for lawmakers but the Senate of Pakistan confined the observance of the day to the theme of enhancing role and powers of the Senate, which is reflective of the narrow-minded and self-centred approach.

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