PR No.268 Chairman Senate, Mian Raza RAbbani addressed the student and facutluty of Behria University on the importance of constitutional rule. Islamabad: March 25, 2017

While Addressing a Seminar at Behria University and a Booking Launching ceremony he said that the vision of Quadi e Azam has been lost, we only pay lip-service and tributes on his birth and death anniversary. His speech of August 1947 has been deliberately suppressed, this speech clearly stated the purpose and the direction that the new state of Pakistan was to take.

The Quaid envisaged Pakistan to be a tolerant, progressive, welfare state with a federal parliamentary form of government. Unfortunately, this character of the Pakistani state was changed and it was converted into a national security state. He further said that thereafter the democratic process was interrupted at regular intervals by military dictators. Dictatorship is an anti thesis to federalism and parliamentary democracy.

He continued that earlier dictators abrogated the constitution and created instruments of their own choice, after the enactment of 1973 constitution no dictator had the courage to abrogate it as it was consensus document within parliament and the federating units, therefore, it was held in abeyance or suspension. Zia ul Haq through the 8th Amendment changed the basic structure of the 1973 Constitution and converted it into a quasi–presidential form of government. The Constitution, 1973, was defaced by the 8th Constitutional Amendment with over 50 amendments seeking to centralize power at Islamabad at the cost of provincial autonomy. This caused polarization between the federating units amongst themselves and the federation, it led to a feeling of deprivation and hit national unity.

The 18th Constitutional Amendment converted Pakistan to the concept of participatory federalism and devolved seventeen (17) federal ministries, repealed the Concurrent Legislative List, gave ownership to the provinces of their natural resources and strengthen the council of common interest.

The Council of Common Interest after the 18th Amendment is a body that is parallel to the Federal Cabinet. That is why in the 18th Amendment, it was provided that it would be headed by the Prime Minister, constituted within a thirty days of his taking oath and will have its own independent secretariat. Article 153-154 of the Constitution, 1973, provides that the CCI shall exercise control and supervision over Items in the Federal Legislative List Part-II which includes all Federal Regulatory bodies and other such institution or bodies made or functioning under a federal law. In simple words, the Cabinet essentially deals with items in the Federal Legislative List Part-I while the CCI deals with the Items in the Federal Legislative Part-II.

He further said NAB has outlived its utility. A new law is required which would be applicable to all segments of society be they politicians, judges, civil and military bureaucracy. The concept of trial by one’s peers has failed. He further said he had written an open letter given the details of a new Commission with an independent investigation and prosecuting agency having representation at the board level of all relevant stake holders. A copy of this letter has also been sent to the parliamentary committee revisiting the NAB law.

He further said that during dictatorship through state policy academic freedom in universities and literature along with the coffee house culture was deliberately curbed so that enlightened thought could not develop and the citizens would be fed that what the state wanted. As a consequence, after such figures as Faiz Ahmed, Jalib and John Alia and others we have failed to produce people of even lesser caliber. That is why a counter narrative against terrorism is not being developed.

The counter narrative against terrorism can only be developed through such institutions and individuals and not by religious extremism.

While concluding, the Chairman Senate said that Pakistan’s future lies in democratic polity, transparent governance, tolerance and a society where the citizens are empowered, executive is answerable to parliament and parliament answerable to the people of Pakistan.