Monday, July 21, 2008

Judicial Crisis in Pakistan

Judicial Crises in Pakistan :Major®Khalid Nasr We had been hearing that “haste makes waste”. Our supreme judiciary had practiced this proverb last year. It is obvious that our Supreme Court had been continuously taking decisions and actions against the Administrative Block. Senior officials had been humiliated in the courts and Musharaf had been the main target of all judicial decisions and actions. The notification of Presidential Election was delayed without any sound reason. The entire nation had been placed in a state of uncertainty. President Musharaf had been adopting the policy of wait and see but judiciary was in a great hurry for taking anti-Musharaf decisions. A process for the restoration of civilian –led democracy has already started .I t is very unfortunate for Pakistan that it is still the continuity of Musharaf Regime.The radical decision of proclamation of emergency Pervaiz Musharaf was claimed to be result of growing terrorism by militants and high handedness of Judiciary. What ever be the background, Musharaf had to face the criticism both from domestic and international sectors. The most important issue for Musharaf was to restore functioning of the superior courts and get their full support for his actions. He had to use maximum Armed Forces to minimize the incidents of violence and terrorism through out the country. USA and UK continued their support to Musharaf; although some financial aid had been decreased . .Musharaf would be very effective in his war against terrorism with the US support. The journey towards restoration of civilian led democracy has halted for an indefinite period.I am now sensing the repetetion of Ayub—Yahya scenario. God bless Pakistan.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Presidential System in Pakistan

Presidential System in Pakistan:Major(R)Khalid Nasr

Keeping in view the socio-political situations of Pakistan, in my opinion Parliamentary Model or so-called Western Democracy is not feasible & suitable.Rather, a strong Presidential Govt is much more acceptable. One thing must be clear that Presidential Model does not include Dictatorship in it, but it’s a pure Democratic model of governance.
Western Democracy was something new not only for Pakistan but for the whole sub-continent, an area which witnessed a thousand years of Monarchial Rule by Turks, Afghans, Mughals. Even the British, who were practicing democracy at home, brought Imperialism to the sub-continent.This has affected the psychology of the nationals and we cannot adjust with Parliamentarianism. Although Presidential one is not a Monarchy but it is in resemblance with it so it attracts our minds.
Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and we as a Muslim cannot follow anything in contradiction to Islam. In Islamic Model of Government, the basic principle is that all the decisions are made through mutual consultation. But in case of any contradiction of opinions, the leader or Amir has the final authority to decide and he may decide what he thinks the best one and accepting no influence of majority,
(Muaarf ul Quran by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib, page 225). This authority cannot be exercised in Parliamentarianism because the Prime Minister cannot deny the pressure of majority. On the other side , a President is sovereign and can decide so in such a situation.
“It is the part of the mercy of God, that thou dost deal gently with them, wert thou sever or harsh hearted, they would have been broken away from about thee: so pass over (their faults) and ask for (God’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast taken a decision put thy trust in God, for God loves those who put their trust (in Him). Surah Al-Imran 3,Verse 42.
For Western Democracy to flourish and to be successful, an enlightened, educated, poverty free society is necessary. Unfortunately Pakistanis have not even a single one out of above said qualities. Being illiterate, poor, and narrow minded we cannot follow such a model of govt. Truly speaking, we as a nation are not yet so mature to be called as a nation and to practice such a delicate model of governance.
The political mandate in Parliamentary system is not substitute of capabilities. What we need is to have professionals and qualified persons in all sectors of Govt, especially in the Executive and in his cabinet. It is at least not possible in the present political situation. Its so because in present system, the Govt needs votes from parliamentarians and they in return draw benefit in form of Ministry or some other fruitful post, nevertheless that either he has capabilities to perform the duties or not.
To sum up, the Parliamentarianism has failed and resulted in emergence of nationalities and sub-nationalities in Pakistan, as it’s not a symbol of a strong Federation. It must be replaced with the Presidential one so that Pakistan may emerge as a united and strong federation. Now the question is how to start with this idea. Parliment has to decide for or against the Presidential System and make necessary ammendments in the constitution.Would the parlimentarians like to do so--this is a very BIG question mark on the way to Presidential system.

Citizen's Role in Present Scenario

Citizen's Role in Present Scenario :Major(R)Khalid Nasr

The main focus of the PPP regime on fighting the war of US-led west in our own territory and run the country the way the west wants.PPP Government's Advisor for Internal Affairs appear to be a spokes person of USA.Local conditions are bad: law and order is deteriorating; crimes are rising; and several civil wars are going on. Economic trends are ringing alarm bells about an eventual meltdown in not too distant a future, if things continue going wrong.Prices of consumer goods & utilities are increasing day by day. Utility Bills are becoming unaffordable.
The secret of success is people’s power.Should the people unite behind right or adequate leadership, they can achieve almost anything.People’s power cannot be defeated by any big or small army, foreign or local.The problem is that we do not have a visionary leadership.Our political leaders are just focusing on their own vested interests.
The overriding task is to bring back democratic freedoms for the people alongwith rule of law, separation of powers, independent judiciary and a responsive government that would run the economy for the benefit of the impoverished masses rather than serve the interests of the few rich. That has to be done.
Now look as to what really is going on in the shape of political polarizations and warfare. The one war that the regime is fighting alongwith America and its allies is against Islamic terrorism and extremism, specifically the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda. The second is against local Taliban because of their rebellion inside Pakistan territories, both in tribal areas and in settled districts of NWFP, although their depredations are not confined only to the NWFP. Even Islamabad has had its taste. The third is the guerilla war of Balochistan Liberation Army against Pakistan Army. This is the second civil war within the country.
The master solution remains mass political action, with the caveat that it should remain non-violent and as constitutional as possible, though not totally restricted to what the government orders. The ultimate goals must be spelled even for the benefit of the new leadership. It has also to be educated on matters of foreign, economic and other policies.This is a good reason why they need to be supported and helped into becoming good economy managers and good foreign policy formulators. This can be done by the intelligentsia through a free intercourse of ideas in the country as reconstruction begins to take shape.The citizens of Pakistan must understand the delaying tactics of their leaders and take a proactive action---the results of the by--elections must be considered seriously.Electing the right leaders is the prime responsibilty of any civilized nation.

Personalized Politics in Pakistan

Personalized Politics in Pakistan
By Major(R)Khalid Nsr

The politics of Pakistan is extremly personalized. Democracy is still a distant dream in this land because personalities and pressure groups are more powerful than the institutions. The vision less politicians form their own political parties and use them as tools to ascend to throne to rule over the public in order to fulfill their long-lasting feudalistic hunger for authority. Thus the politics of Pakistan revolves around the commanding hammer men and the influential bunches while the fate of democratic institutions is hanging in the balance. It is rightly said power is intoxication and who are obsessed to abuse cannot live peacefully without it as persons having oil burner habit feel remarkable discomfort when they fail to get the dose.This is the loophole through which brass hats and bureaucrats enter in the politics. TheGrains of feudalism were present in the genesis of the country. The father of the nation kicked the bucket during the formative phase of the nation state. He didn’t get sufficient time to groom the nation on democratic lines. PM Liaqat Ali Khan had no political constituency in Pakistan. Therefore, he relied on the clergy and the feudal lords for his political support. After his assassination on October 16, 1951 at Company Bagh Rawalpindi the boiling pot of effete burst resulting in political wrangling among the deep-seated bureaucrats, power starving palm-pressers and overzealous generals. Seven cabinets were formed in East Pakistan and Governor's rule was imposed thrice between March 1954 and August 1958. This political wrestling to gain authority culminated in the dark period of Martial Law that was imposed by President Maj General Iskandar Mirza on October 7, 1958 by scrapping the first constitution of 1956 that was framed after nine year of arduous effort but it was abrogated only two-and-half years after it was enacted. Thus all constitutional efforts went down the drain. Martial Law conked out the democratic process by driving the first nail in its coffin and crippled it before taking firm roots. On October 27 Ayub Khan seized all powers by expelling Iskandar Mirza who lost the morning line. He issued Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) and 'Public Offices Disqualification Order' (PODO) on October 7, 1959 to eliminate and punish the main political figures and top bureaucrats so that no one can challenge his oppressive rule.In October 1959 he also introduced four tier system of Basic Democracy through an order in which 8000 Basic Democrats would be elected from both wings and ultimately they would elect the President. The clandestine intention was to jockeying the elections instead of empowering the public at the grassroots level. He framed a new constitution in 1962 in which all powers were concentrated in the hands of the President and in this context he was like the clock tower of Faisalabad. Ayub Khan maneuvered and rigged the Presidential election of 1965 to defeat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.After political protests in the late-sixties Ayub transferred power unconstitutionally to general Yahya Khan who was more interested in drinking & womanizing than the population welfare. Ayub’s industrialization had resulted in the concentration of resources in 22 families belonging to West Pakistan that generated a sense of deprivation in the eastern wing resulting in dismemberment of the country due to Indian intrigue on December 16, 1971 and drew permanent lines of separation between the two halves of the Quaid’s monument. Z.A.Bhutto became the leading political personality of the truncated Pakistan.The alleged rigging of the 1977 elections and their repercussions in the form of ceaseless protests by the PNA provided vacuum to the army to intervene.Once again military pushed the country towards the darkest and the longest period of Martial Law. Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979 although he was the most popular leader of Pakistan after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam but his charisma haunted Zia like a ghost. General Ziaul Haq ruled the country for more than eleven years with a steel rod like a true autocratic ruler.Pakistan is still paying a dear price for the legacy of Zia period in the form perpetual subversive activities ignited by the miscreants to create instability. Four civilian governments changed the driving seat during 1988-99 but no government was being permitted to complete its tenure. The two elected governments of Benzir Bhutto and the first regime of Nawaz Sharif in power were ousted by the incumbent Presidents by using their discretionary powers under Article 58-2(b) that is another award given by Ziaul Haq so that democratic processs can never take firm roots and smooth course. It hangs like Damocle’s Sword over each civilian government. Both Prime Ministers during their tenures endeavored to curtail the powers of the President and tried to undermine army whom they consider great threats for their rule. They moved heaven and earth to concentrate all powers in their hands. Ultimately army retaliated when Nawaz Sharif after clipping the wings of the President and disempowering judiciary attempted to let the rug slip under the generals’ feet because he unduly promoted the then ISI Chief General Ziaudin Butt as COAS by replacing general Musharraf who was on an official tour in Sri Lanka. Thus the civilian government with heavy mandate terminated on October 9, 1999 and once again army came to power to rule the roost. President Musharraf created King’s Party in the form of Q-League to legitimatize his rule by establishing an engineered democracy.Pakistan is at the crossroads of formidable challenges.The public trust has been badly shaken and cracked in the well-fixed politicians due to their continuous betrayal of the public.The flushed hot shots should give up the politics of vested interests if they want to correct their image. They should join hands to uplift the public rather than safeguarding their self-seeking interests.The political parties are deprived of true democratic culture. They should conduct regular elections within their ranks to become genuine democratic parties.In this way personalized politic will make a shift in the direction of institutional politics and true democracy will automatically take its course.We must select our political leaders who have a vision & agenda other wise Pakistan would continue to be ruled by stupidity , fear and greed.May God protect our sohni -dherti from these opportunists & carpet baggers.

Ideal Political System---Pakistan

Ideal Political System---Pakistan:Major(R)Khalid Nasr

Pakistan has suffered, since its inception, from a lack of political stability. Democracy has not taken root. Military and civilian governments have played a game of musical chairs with the nation's destiny. The pattern has become painfully familiar. A civilian government is installed after the euphoria of elections. Ineptitude and corruption pave the way for a military intervention. A military government assumes power promising to clean house and restore democracy. Neither promise is kept. Growing pressure - internal and external - forces the military to hold elections. The game begins again.

What is wrong? Is Pakistan congenitally indisposed to democracy? I think not. Our problem has to do with the sort of democratic system we have rather than democracy itself. What is wrong with our existing system? It is not sufficient to replicate an existing political system that has developed over decades or centuries in another country and transpose it to our context. I would like to suggest a democratic political system, which will be responsive to Pakistan’s very specific needs.

The existing system

Start with the fundamentals. Ideally, in a democracy, the assemblies make the laws, the courts interpret and implement them, and the executive manages the country. It clearly makes sense to keep all three players as independent of each other as possible. In Pakistan, things do not work this way.
The executive - the prime minister and his cabinet - is drawn from these assemblies. So one critical barrier - that separating the executive from the legislature - is breached, as it were, by design. The prime minister, in our system, acquires almost unchecked power. He becomes head of the executive and legislature at the same time. The system then requires him to draw his cabinet - the nation's management team - from elected members of the legislature.

Let us assume that we get the right person as prime minister - sensible, practical, mature, wise, intelligent, humane, open minded, humble, and with the vision and management skills needed to lead a complex country like ours. Is it likely that he will be able to find people in the assemblies with the right managerial skills needed .

The plurality-majority system

There is another problem with the way democracy works in Pakistan. The system of elections we have in Pakistan is commonly known as the 'single member district plurality' (SMDP) system or the 'first past the post' (FPTP) system. In essence, it is a winner takes all system. So if two people are on a ballot then the one who gets a simple majority is declared the winner. If three or more people are contesting then the one who gets the most votes, (a plurality) wins.

In Pakistan SMDP has led to 'adversarial' politics. At the district level, this means the winning MNA has no interest or motivation to work with the loser or losers for the betterment of the district. This is because the 'losers' though they may have collectively garnered more votes than the winner have no further say in the process. The 'spoils' are for the victor to take and distribute as he chooses. The system, as it were, creates needless rivalry and confrontation, when in fact, what is needed is cooperation and consolation.

At the parliamentary level, the dominant party knows that it does not need the support of other parties at the grass roots level. This introduces a certain intemperance, if not outright arrogance, in its conduct.The conduct of our two dominant parties, whenever they have been in power in the past, suffices as evidence.

There is something about this system that seems to go against the essence of democracy. In a tight two-person race, for example, the person who gets a shade over half the vote wins. So about half the people in the district get the representation they want. The other half are, in effect, disenfranchised.

The current scenario

We in Pakistan inherited the SMDP system from the British. Little, if any, thought was given to whether such a system would work for us. The consequences are evident and painful. Sixty years have passed since independence and Pakistan is a nation at war, so to speak, with itself.

So what is our 'context'? We are not a homogeneous people. This is a nation with a multiplicity of 'cleavages'. There exist deep schisms along, provincial, ethnic, linguistic, religious, and tribal lines. There are large and small provinces. Some of them are rich in minerals, others in agriculture. Should all of this suggest that we are somehow doomed as a nation? On the contrary I believe that our 'multiplicity of cleavages' if harnessed can become an enviable source of stability and strength.

The challenge for Pakistan is to design a democratic system that is accommodative and conciliatory, a system that engenders harmony not division.

What to do now !

Our current SMDP system must be replaced by Proportional Representation or PR. The basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all voters deserve representation and that all political groups in society deserve to be represented in parliament in proportion to their strength in the electorate. In other words, everyone should have the right to fair representation.

In order to achieve this fair representation, all PR systems have certain basic characteristics -- characteristics that set them apart from the SMDP system that we have now. First, they all use multi-member districts. Instead of electing one person in each district, as we do now in Pakistan, several people are elected. These multi-member districts may be relatively small, with only three or four members, or they may be larger, with ten or more members.

The second characteristic of all PR systems is that they divide up the seats in these multi-member districts according to the proportion of votes received by the various parties or groups running candidates. Thus if the candidates of a party win 40% of the vote in a 10 member district, they receive four of the ten seats -- or 40% of the seats. If another party wins 20% of the vote, they get two seats, and so on. That, briefly, is how proportional representation works.

Imagine the soothing effect such a system (or an appropriate variation of it) would have on Pakistani politics. There would be no disenfranchisement of voters at the district level. Opposing politicians would have to learn to work with each other in their districts and, as a consequence, in the assemblies. Cooperation would replace confrontation. Accountability would replace profligacy.

The barrier between executive and parliament is critical factor for our system. Let us look at what would happen if we separated the executive and the parliament. In this case, parliament is elected separately from the executive i.e. the prime minister or the president (this is what happens, for example, in the U.S. system). The directly elected prime minister or president, free from the constraint of choosing his cabinet from elected members of parliament, is able to select the most suitable and professionally competent people for his team.

Constitutional Package Suggested By PPP


Constitutional Package

18th Amendment Act 2008 proposes validation of Ordinances under 270AAA

Package proposes restoration of judges

No court to validate extra-constitutional measures

Commission to be set up for appointment of judges

Judges Commission to comprise Chief Justices and Law Minister

Commission to propose two panels to PM, who shal forward one name to Joint Parliamentary Committee

Retirement age of judges proposed to be 68 years

Term of Chief Justice of Pakistan

One fixed Constitutional term for Chief Justice proposed

Ad-hoc judges proposed to be appointed for one year

Jurisdiction of Supreme Court on public interest litigation redefined

10 pct seats for women in High Courts

Judicial Commission to comprise retired non-politicized judges

Amendment proposes renaming NWFP to Pakhtunkhawa

Subversion of the constitution to be treated as high treason

Courts condoning such acts should also be treated as guilty of treason

Maximum two terms for President in office

Neutral set up in consultation with speaker and chairman senate

Seats for non-Muslims to be elected by Pas and Senate

No disqualification for criticizing Army officers holding civil posts

Bill to be presented to President for assent if Joint Sitting passes it

Article 71 to be omitted

Federal Government to consist of Prime Minister and Ministers

National Assembly to meet on the 30th day following the election

After election of Speakers, NA to elect a Muslim member as Prime Minister

Prime Minister to be elected by majority members of the NA

No-confidence motion to require 20 pct members of NA, and name of successor

Vote on no-confidence motion within 3-7 days

Senior Federal Minister to act as PM if the office becomes vacant

President to be replaced with Federal Government in Article 99, 100

Council of Common Interest to include opposition leaders in Senate, NA

CCI to meet biannually at least

NEC to be reconstituted under proposed package

NFC after every three years

High Court for Islamabad Capital Territory also proposed

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I take the honour of introducing Yasmeen Ali & Jamil Zaidi as senior advisor on this blog.Their valuable suggestions & comments are always a source of inspiration for me..


I take this opportunity of inviting all my friends to write articles or post their comments on this blog.Let us join hands to make this blog an effective blog for our youth.