Senate observes Constitution Day

Call for institutions to work within their constitutional limits


Our Correspondent April 11, 2018
PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Senate commemorated the adoption of Constitution on April 10, 1973 on Tuesday, amid apprehensions of some members on what they called “political engineering” in the country.

Taking part in discussion on the theme “Enhancement of Role and Powers of Senate of Pakistan to protect the rights of the Federating Units”, almost all the speakers demanded that institutions should work within their constitutional limits and parliament should assert its authority as a supreme body.

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said that mainstream political parties were being weakened through a systematic political engineering and regional parties were being created. “Weakening of mainstream parties would ultimately weaken the federations,” he said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party leader also criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not sending its representatives to the parliamentary committee on the working of delimitations. He claimed that the parliamentary committee was authorised under the law to review delimitations draft.

Moreover, Rabbani also criticised the government plan to present next year’s budget. According to him, caretaker government is authorised to run financial affairs of the country for four months.

Constitution Day: Rabbani wants people to own democracy

Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) asked his fellow lawmakers for soul-searching.

“When parliament fails to perform its function it provides room for other forces to intervene. When you criticise other institutions, like ECP, whom you yourself have given powers, you are authorised to take away those powers,” he remarked.

Shah also questioned the level of democracy within the political parties and said it is only the parliament which enacts laws and confers power to other institutions. “Is there any democracy in our political parties? There is a monopoly of certain families in in political parties,” he said.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senator Javed Abbasi said there was a history of making and breaking of political parties in an unnatural way.

“It takes ages for political entities to transform into real political parties”, he said, adding that the process of fragmenting certain parties was underway right now.

Abbasi also said that political parties and politicians must realise that unless they resolved issues of the common people, no one could guarantee preservation of the Constitution.

House of federation: What does the Senate do?

Meanwhile, similar sentiments were expressed by Barrister Saif of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) who said that politicians should show character if they really wanted to protect the Constitution.

“We should face reality. And reality is that we cannot protect the Constitution in our current situation,” he remarked while stating that incantations and fiery speeches could not yield a tangible defence.

Sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition Sherry Rehman , the house took up a calling-attention notice regarding decline in foreign reserves of the country at the rate of $200-250 million per week.

“Pakistan has the fastest depleting foreign exchange reserves in Asia,” she said, adding that paralysed economy was surviving on loans.

“Non-transparent government reports show economic growth but at the same time our key foreign reserves are depleting," said Sherry while highlighting that the current account deficit rose by over 50% in the first eight months of this current fiscal year.

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