Constitution amended

Editorial April 16, 2010

Even as historic change is ushered into the country with the 18th amendment smoothly making its way through the senate, attempts are on to take some of the wind out of the PPP's sails.

The rather meaningless Hazara issue continues to be raised by the opposition. Whispers in that city of conspiracies in Islamabad, suggest President Zardari will now try and move into the prime minister's office despite any lack of evidence on this score and others suggest still more debate was needed, chiefly on the NWFP re-naming issue before the bill was passed. Essentially, these are sour grapes.

There are too many unwilling to acknowledge good when it takes place. As a nation we have become increasingly cynical from year to year, and this trait appears to rise to the forefront in particular when there is a PPP government in power.

But it is also important to give praise where it is due. The Raza Rabbani-led committee, through mature and prolonged talks involving all major parties, has achieved a great deal.

Even dissenting notes have been included in the draft bill. Every opinion was heard at length during the talks. The distortions that marred our constitution have been removed. Power swings back to the prime minister and the parliament.

The only major caveat that we have is that the constitution still excludes non-Muslims from attaining the post of president, a condition that is clearly discriminatory against minorities.

Having said that the government in particular needs to move on and get on with the job of governing the country. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of access to clean drinking water and reliable and affordable healthcare are issues for most ordinary Pakistanis and these should be accorded the priority they deserve.