By Ali Ashraf Khan
The four years of PPP rule and the way parliamentary democracy is understood and used by the PPP shows - again proven just recently through the way how an untenable puppet Prime Minister was replaced by another one- how any institution designed to fulfill a certain purpose can be misused by the powers that be if they do not share the intent for which that institution was designed.
Parliamentary democracy was designed in the West to find a means to represent the voice of a common people who through electing those representatives or parties who seem to come closest to their understanding of good governance, justice etcetera. For that the common people need to be educated at least so much that they can develop an understanding about the world, their country and their interests and they have to be free and able to voice the opinion at which they have arrived and not to get bogged down due to electronic media's partisanship. The precondition for the functioning of the system is thus a certain qualification and honesty towards the spirit of the system and institution, reflecting sense of belonging to a nation and the country.
In Pakistan neither of the precondition is present: neither are people able or willing to understand the national interest nor are they free to voice their opinion in a set-up where elections are so highly manipulated like in Pakistan nor is the elite of the country honest about their mandate and misuse it in order to stay in power and fill their pockets. That is how the powerful can claim that they are 'democratically elected' and represent 180 million people while the electoral rolls are incomplete and millions are not represented there, the voter's turn out is below 50% and about half of the votes turn out to be bogus.
Again the electoral system of 'first past the post' is rendering many votes inconsequential. But worst is that people are voting for their landlord families or pirs, mirs or brotherhood for small hand-outs without ever considering the larger benefit of the country. The political elite is changing positions as needed in order to stay in power as we have just seen by Faisal Saleh Hayat of Q/league who first took oath on the Holy Quran when he was giving his statement in the rental power scam against Raja Pervez Ashraf, then refused to vote for him and just seconds later went and gave the same man his vote. It is the same with Aitezaz Ahsan who changed his mind the same way with regard to the Swiss letter matter and there are hundreds more examples.
That is how the conviction of a sitting Prime Minister would have had no consequence if not the judiciary did the work which the speaker of the National Assembly, behaving more like a party jiyali, should have done. The way how within hours party Co-Chairman nominated and changed different candidates for Prime Minister according to the changing situation but always making sure that the nominee was of tainted character so that he could be held on a string by him and influenced if he would try to act against his wishes.
During the last couple of days one thing has become clear that it is no more a parliamentary form of government, it is president of Pakistan who is the real power base and who directly controls the government in spite of the much trumpeted transfer of power under the 18th amendments to the Prime Minister as the real Chief Executive and the removal of 58 (2) b and others powers vested in the President. Mr. Yusuf Gillani in his first comments after leaving the Prime Minister chair has talked of some conspiracy behind his removal.
Political analysts feel that the President House was contemplating to see him out because of some differences such as why he had not resigned on April 26th when he was convicted. When the party resorted to large scale protest in condemning the apex court. On the legal advice the Speaker's office was used and a review against conviction was not filed. Then again upon refusal to write a letter when he was disqualified by the Supreme Court, on direction of PPP command it was decided to accept the decision without showing any resentment and his person was sacrificed. His lawyer was earlier not allowed to seek interpretation on presidential immunity that is being used as reason for not writing the letter to the Swiss court. Later Makhdoom
Shahbuddin, the PPP main nominee to replace Gilani whose candidature was short circuited by sudden highlighting involvement in drug case, on Friday while appearing before the Peshawar High Court for bail before arrest talking to media has also pointed towards some conspiracy behind the timing of issuance of his warrant of arrest on the same day, indicating that he views this as a move to stop the emergence of another contender of leadership in South Punjab politics.
Now that Mr. Raja Pervez Ashraf has been elected and Governor Punjab and others have made it clear that come what may no PPP Prime Minister will write a letter to the Swiss court, so the position of the PPP is that the constitution is not to be respected because it would restrain the President from holding on to power. After the disqualification of Prime Minister his lawyer has put the blame for not going in review appeal before the court on the government saying that he had already prepared the review case but government preferred to rely on the Speaker's ruling under the provision of recent amendments, which need to be elaborated or legally interpreted yet. Now the government will be trying to take shield behind parliamentary supremacy and undermine the Supreme Court, which is a dangerous path that may destroy the very foundation of the country - that is another hidden agenda of the sole super power, which treats us like slaves in complicity with corrupt electronic media.
Respect and dignity of Judiciary under the prevalent system our parliamentarians will only understand once they know that there were people with superb character and knowledge; one was Mr. Mahmood Ahmed Khan, the son of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who understood the English code of law better than the British and pointed out the lacuna in Section 302 while helping to save a poor native from death upon execution of a sentence under this article. The British had to amend this article by adding "Till death" After he was appointed by the King as Judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Mehmood developed a row over an insult of natives by the British Judges, and the CJ of High court wrote to the British government asking for his removal but while the King of England had the powers to appoint a Judge of the apex court he could not remove a judge. A judge could be removed in three ways only, i.e. he becomes insane, he resigns himself or he dies.
So how come a parliament under the 1973 constitution is now being fielded as the only supreme fountain of power while the oath of office administered to the Prime Minister and others clearly mentions that he will ensure that no law is repugnant to Quran and Sunnah in Pakistan and accordingly Supremacy lies only with Allah Almighty, and only HE is sustainable, the life around us today is nothing imperfect reflection of man's desire, which is contrary to the teaching Quran, read Ayat al Kursi in Surah Al-Baqarah.
Why then a parliament & government whenever it is dissolved rushes to the Supreme Court or High Court for declaring that act as unlawful and asks for restoration of the parliament and government as was done in the case of Nawaz Sharif and Junejo missed by few steps? The events of the recent days if nothing else have shown that this kind of democracy that is a tool in the hand of a powerful person or elite to be used according to the situation and keep this person or elite in power is an aberration of the very idea of democracy and this must have been what Mr. Zardari meant back in 2008 when he said that democracy was the best revenge. GOD Bless Pakistan.
Karachi. June 23, 2012
Ali Ashraf Khan