Delusion of a desperate man
Taking to journalists at the residence of his close aide Ghulam Qadir Mari, former President and Co-Chairperson of PPP Asif Zardari claimed that Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf government is trying to abrogate the unanimously adopted 1973 Constitution. This logic of the former President is miles away even from the remote probability what to speak of such a possibility. He is not alone in this unbelievable chorus as the leadership of Awami National Party (ANP) also harps on the same tune with a difference of tone. The PPP leadership presents their stance on weak reasoning in a mild tone whereas ANP leadership sometimes uses threatening tone.
Substantiating his delusion theory, the former President said that the incumbent government has reservations over a few clauses of the 18th Amendment but in this garb they are actually planning to abrogate the 1973 constitution. One may remind to the former President that in the past constitutions were abrogated or held in abeyance by the undemocratic forces and not the elected civilian governments. Mere intention about removal of grey areas in the 18th amendment through act parliament in no way implies abrogation of constitutions. The PTI government does not have the required numerical strength in the parliament to bring amendment to the 18th Amendment. Hence, the allegation of PPP co-chairperson that PTI government is bent upon converting the federation of Pakistan into a unitary state is not correct. Even, the military dictators could not abrogate the 1973 constitution and an elected government with a slim majority in the National Assembly alone and that too with the support of its allies cannot think about it.
The former President said that PPP did not accept the results July 2018 election but on the contrary party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PPP will perform the role of a robust opposition. What a contradiction of political stance between the top leadership of the same political party? Asif Zardari predicted that PTI government will not survive and PPP will not bail it out. It is for the ones who brought it to power, an oblique reference to a certain state institution. This is nothing but mud slinging on state institutions.
Although there are a number of good provisions of 18th Amendment, however certain legal and constitutional experts hold the opinion that it has changed the federal structure of federation of Pakistan in confederation. Diluting the powers of the federal government to impose Governors Rule in the total breakdown of law and order in a federating unit and making it conditional to the approval of provincial legislature is one such argument in support of its demerit. The original 1973 construction had empowered the federal government to impose governor’s rule if grave law and order situation or constitutional crisis emerged in a province. The logic that 18th Amendment has restored the 1973 constitution in original shape is not entirely correct. Moreover, gagging the voice and conscience of parliamentarian to express their opinion in the parliament against the wrong policies of the government of their own party or unelected party head by virtue of 18th Amendment runs contrary to the established norms of democracy.
With this amendment subjects of the concurrent list were transferred to the federating units but the provincial governments did not hold local bodies’ polls to transfer certain powers to these institutions until the order of the Apex court came and unwillingly elections of local bodies were held. In Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, the PTI previous provincial government devolved some powers to the local governments but in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan it was not done.
Asif Zardari sarcastically said that PTI government has no foreign policy. The present government policy is going well particularly, about Afghanistan, India and Russia, and relations with the United States are improving.On the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the former president blamed these attacks on non-state actors and hence gave credence to Indian narrative which was later corroborated by the former Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif in one of his interviews dinting the image of the Pakistan in the comity of nations. The process of composite dialogue was suspended in 2008 when PPP was in power. Prime Minister Imran Khan skillfully used the tools of fighting swords with flowers, opened Kartatpur corridor and effectively countered the Indian narrative against Pakistan.
The Afghan policy of the present government is also pragmatic which is manifest from the letter of President Donald Trump to the Prime Minster. Pakistan is moving towards strategic partnership with Russia. It was in 2012 that Pakistan was first put on the grey list by the Paris based Financial Action Task force and for the second time in June 2018 because of its weak anti-money laundering and counterterrorism regimes. The former President is being grilled by FIA led JIT in connection with fake bank accounts that were used for money laundering of Rs. 35 billion. His scathing critique of the PTI government reflects delusion of a desperate man.