Pakistan at 75 | Political economics


RResolved that it is in the considered opinion of this session of the All India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it was framed on the principle of following basis, namely that the geographically contiguous units are delimited into regions which should be so constituted, with the necessary territorial arrangements, as the regions in which the Muslims are numerically in the majority, as in the areas of the north-west and the east of India, are grouped together to form independent states in which the constituent units are self-governing and sovereign.

That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in such units and regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them; and in other parts of India where Muslims are in the minority, adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specially provided in the constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic rights and interests , political, administrative and others. in consultation with them.Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940

Each year, Pakistan Day offers us the opportunity to introspect and critically assess our painful journey as a nation. We should look at the prevailing situation in the context of the ideals of our founding fathers. The spirit of the Lahore resolution required Pakistan to be a country where all citizens could freely observe their religion. Our ancestors dreamed of a democratic state committed to a fair distribution of resources for all, especially the less privileged. They settled on a secular democratic dispensation providing basic facilities, for example, education, health, food, housing and justice for all. However, a military-judicial-civilian complex thwarted these ideas. The judiciary becoming an approving arm like men in khakis, an indomitable bureaucracy and businessmen and politicians pushed the country from crisis to crisis.

Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world. Approaching its Diamond Jubilee, it has the highest population growth rate in South Asia, with nearly 80 million people living in abject poverty in inhumane conditions. Thanks to the anti-grassroots policies of the ruling elites, the country has been pushed into perpetual political instability, coupled with economic crises, hunger, malnutrition, unprecedented inflation, rising unemployment and social unrest – to name a few. cite just a few.

Still confused about the genesis of independence, the country is experiencing yet another terrible political crisis. It has struggled since its inception on several fronts. Most important is the inability of state institutions to ensure the protection of the life and property of citizens – the failure to respect a fundamental right even after 75 years.

Due to decades of dictatorial rule, the country still lacks authentic freedom of the press and of expression and dissenting voices are still dealt with with an iron fist. Successive military and civilian leaders engaged in appeasement of the forces of obscurantism giving rise to religiosity as a tool of control. Obscurantists have enormous power in the streets although they never win overwhelming majorities in elections. Consequently, the state suffered greatly. He is unable to muster the forces necessary to effectively manage these forces.

One of the main factors behind the current political stalemate is the flagrant and perpetual violation of the supreme law of the land, the constitution. The interpretation of Section 63A in the light of the referral filed by the President of Pakistan under Section 184(3) has proven once again that the forces that matter in the country have failed in their experiment of a hybrid diet. The hand-picked politicians in the different parties always toe their line. The judiciary now faces a historic challenge to abandon its legacy.

The establishment has always interfered in political affairs through covert maneuvers. Their extra-constitutional acts were backed by an unholy alliance of elites – incompetent politicians and a compromised judiciary.

Our history is marked by frequent political upheavals and the judiciary acting as an approver of unconstitutional acts. Due to Quaid-i-Azam’s untimely death, the first Constituent Assembly could not produce a constitution until March 1956.

The assembly headed by Muhammad Ali Bogra was illegally dissolved by Governor General Ghulam Muhammad and rightfully reinstated by the High Court of Sindh. Unfortunately, the Federal Court overturned this judgment based on the infamous doctrine of necessity. After the formation of the second Constituent Assembly in 1955, the draft of the first Constitution was presented to the Assembly on January 9, 1956. It was adopted on February 29, 1956.

After the assent of the Governor-General on March 2, 1956, the constitution was implemented with effect from March 23, 1956 – making Pakistan a republic on the historic day in 1940 when the resolution was passed in Minto Park, Lahore.

The constitution could not stop clashes between powerful elites. Powerful men in uniform exploited the situation and General Muhammad Ayub Khan, who later became a field marshal, imposed martial law and abrogated the constitution. Deviation from the constitution and the desire to seize power unconstitutionally ultimately led to the downfall of East Pakistan – now the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

This great tragedy did not change the mood of the men in khaki. Through his Rebellion on July 5, 1977, General Muhammad Ziaul Haq ended the elected government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The judiciary helped Zia send Bhutto to the gallows in a questionable murder case. This travesty of justice is one of the most lamentable scars on the face of justice. Zia’s rule has fostered religious extremism which still poses a significant challenge for the country.

The intervention in 1999 of General Pervez Musharraf, who had a middle and short-term approach to governance, was one of the reasons for our loss of respect as a nation at the international level. During his tenure, Pakistan became the main battleground for terrorism, suffering huge financial losses and the lives of over 80,000 people.

The desire for absolute power destroyed the institutions that were supposed to facilitate citizens. Institutions currently work for the benefit of powerful elites. The structure of the state evolved in a way that favored the wealthy and influential. Only they can access the corridors of power. The fate of ordinary people remains unknown to them. In violation of its constitutional mandate, the establishment has interfered in political affairs through covert maneuvers. His extra-constitutional acts were supported by an unholy alliance of elites – incompetent politicians and a compromised judiciary.

After all these years, the dreams of the citizens remain unfulfilled. The most unfortunate thing is that there is no hope of radical improvement in the near future. The level of poverty is increasing and people are struggling to lead a decent life with access to basic amenities. The only way to streamline the affairs of Pakistan is to abide by the Lahore resolution of 1940.

Abdul Rauf Shakoori is a US-based corporate lawyer

Huzaima Bukhari is a High Court Barrister and Adjunct Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

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