Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Civil society opposes Qadri’s ‘veto power’ on caretaker PM nomination

Progressive think tanks, intellectuals and representatives of civil society have unanimously opposed the Islamabad Long March Declaration – an agreement reached between the government and Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri – and challenged the “veto power” given to him by the coalition government for the nomination of caretaker prime minister.

The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC), a consortium of more than 30 non-government organisations, arranged a seminar on Friday to discuss the current political situation and future of democracy in Pakistan.

Asma Jahangir, human rights activist, presided over the seminar. IA Rehman, director of Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), human rights activist Hina Jilani, political scholar Ahmad Rashid, prominent lawyer Salman Raja, Irfan Mufti from South Asia Partnership (SAP), Robina Jamil, Peter Jacob, Karamat Ali and Awami Workers Party leader Farooq Tariq were among the key speakers.

Asma Jahangir, appreciating the role of government and opposition parties towards Qadri’s long march, said that Pakistani politics has “grown up now but some hurdles are still in its way so politicians should act sensibly in the future as Qadri’s long march was not fully ended in principle”. She also lauded the democratic government’s “wise decision” to deal with Qadri in a peaceful manner and holding negotiations to avoid an episode like Lal Mosque incident in the country. She, however, opposed the Islamabad Long March Declaration, reached between the government and Tahirul Qadri, and said it had given a “veto power” to Qadri on the appointment of caretaker prime minister that is “totally unconstitutional and illegal and the Pakistani nation will not endorse it”. About the implementation of articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, she said that the government should restore it in the original shape of 1973 as both articles were subjective and no one in the country could fulfil its requirements as a candidate in the next general elections.

She also suggested introducing a good and trustworthy accountability procedure by bringing an accountability bill in the assembly to further empower National Accountability Bureau.

For strengthening democracy, she stressed on holding local bodies elections soon after completing the general elections procedure in the country. She also stressed on the need for an “independent foreign policy”, emphasising trade relations with regional countries.

About the future government after general elections, she was confident that nationalists would win in Balochistan and after establishing their government in the province they would not give permission to any military general to earn money from trade through Chaman border.

She also criticised security forces for getting 20 percent fee from the Balochistan government to protect resources of the province. HRCP Director IA Rehman, while addressing the seminar, said that due to subjective and hard merit, articles 62 and 63 of the constitution of Pakistan should be removed as no one could meet the merits mentioned in the elections. He also criticised the role of media during Tahirul Qadri’s long march, and said that all the media had been “hijacked and it played a partial role all the time… it was not showing the opinion of the anti-long march people so accountability of the media should also be done”. Salman Raja said that Qadri’s “veto power” on the interim set-up nomination was unconstitutional and it should be challenged because the constitution had defined the domain of the government and the opposition regarding it.

He also said that articles 62 and 63 were not fulfilling the needs of the hour as they were silent about the non-tax payers but held a restriction on the defaulters so there was a need to amend these articles to make them more effective. All the other speakers agreed that the democratic system could run the business of the government more effectively. They unanimously urged political parties to make democracy stronger.

No comments:

Post a Comment