Of late the top leaderships of both Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP), who remained coalition partners in the so called oligarchic democratic government from 2008 to 2013, are often making hue and cry in their statements about the scraping or of 18th Amendment. Sometimes they talk about amending this legislation and reversion from parliamentary form of government to the presidential one.
Not only the leadership of these political parties but, by and large, the people also know that Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf government has a razor thin majority in the National Assembly and in the Senate the opposition parties command majority so much so that the ruling party could not dare take the risk of amending this important legislation in the joint sitting of the parliament. Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has categorically dismissed the imaginary fears of the PPP and ANP leaders, saying that 18th amendment is a useful legislation and will remain intact on the statute book.
ANP central president Asfandiyar Wali has again moved the handle of this amendment for the head-bashing of the PTI government. Addressing a function on the death anniversaries of Bacha Khan and Abdul Wali Khan in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, he alleged that attempts are being made to dilute the efficacy of the clauses of the amendments that pertain to distribution of financial resources between the federation and federating units. He claimed that it will be done to increase budgetary allocations for what he called the invisible forces. This contention could not stand the litmus test and turned proved wrong. The ninth National Finance Commission, in its first meeting on Wednesday, has agreed on division of resources between the center and provinces in accordance with the provisions of 18th Amendment.
The ANP Spremo also brought a far fetched political conceit and said that democratic forces will not accept switching over from parliamentary democracy to Presidential form of government and any such move will be resisted tooth and nail. The history of Pakistan from July 1977 to November 2007, alternating between the civilian elite class and military governments including the military led government of General Musharraf and his team of high caliber technocrats who turned around the economy busted by PML-N rule, amply confirm that return to Presidential form off government is absolutely impossible.
The bogey of either scrapping or diluting the 18th Amendment is being raised to divert the attention of the people from the ongoing process of transparent and across-the-board accountability. The arrest of PTI central leader and senior minister in Punjab government Abdul Aleem Khan repudiates the accusation of opposition parties about the selected, one sided and vindictive process of accountability. Establishing a precedent of healthy democratic culture, Abdul Aleem Khan resigned from the portfolio of senior provincial minster and sent his resignation to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. A spokesman of the Punjab government has clarified that the government will uphold the rule of law. In their reactions to this development, senior leaders of PML-N and PPP Muhammad Zubair and Qamar Zaman Kaira hailed the process of impartial accountability. Another noteworthy action of the rule of law is the issuance of arrest warrant by Accountability Court against the former Prime Minister of President Musharraf Government, Mr. Shaukat Aziz. Pakistan’s embassy in the UK has been directed to service the warrant on him and submit a compliance report in the court. As the people, particularly the educated youth, will not buy the conspiracy theory floated now and then about the 18th Amendment and change in the form of government, therefore, the trickery of highlighting imaginary fears should be put to rest.