Zulfiqar Gilani, iftikhar haq, Anis Haroon, Dr. Mubashir Hassan, Shahid Hafiz Kardar, Tahir Mohammad Khan, Afrasiab Khattak, , Khalid Mehboob, Hussain Naqi, M.B. Naqvi, Yousaf Nazar, I. A. Rehman, Rafi Raza, Fareeda Shaheed, Anwar Syed, Dr. Parvez Tahir, Hasan Jafar Zaidi
What Needs to be Done
The state of Pakistan is gradually moving towards the brink of failure. The federal and provincial governments and the military have proved to be incapable of protecting life, liberty, property and dignity of an overwhelming majority of its citizens; to dispense justice on the basis of equality and fairness, and to provide equality of economic opportunities with diverse classes, nations, sects, religions and sexes. Crime, corruption, poverty, disease, ignorance and obscurantism abound.
- The overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan have no share in governing themselves. The country is ruled by the government of the elites, by the elites and for the elites. The authoritative and exploitative structure of governance s responsible for the never ending constitutional crises that have plagued Pakistan and for its earning the reputation of a client state of the United States .
- in a new social contract there should be three levels of government- citizens, provincial and federal- of the councils elected by the people at each of these levels to exercise political, social and economic powers as prescribed in the constitution (1973)
- What the people collectively decide and implement at the smaller level of the population should not be decided and implemented by the body of an area of a larger population.
- The 1973 constitution of Pakistan mandates that: “the state shall ensure the elimination of all forms of exploitation and the gradual fulfillment of the fundamental principle, from each according to his ability to each according to his work.” Therefore the state should provide for all citizens facilities for work and adequate livelihood with reasonable rest and leisure; provide for all persons social security by compulsory social insurance or other means; provide basic necessities of life such as, food, clothing, housing education and medical relief, for all such citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race; reduce disparity in the income and earning of individuals, including persons in the various classes of the services of Pakistan.
- The citizen’s government at the level of village or cluster of villages or tribes should have the jurisdiction and authority for the protection of persons and property, the management of local policing and setting up the citizens’ court for enforcing criminal law.
- the citizens government at the level of tehsil and talukas will have its own administration to maintain land records, adjudicate on questions such as those presently dealt with by the revenue officials of tehsils and talukas. It will also have its own civil courts.
- the citizen’s government at the level of districts and cities shall perform both legislative and executive functions as prescribed in the constitution.
- the business of the councils shall be distributed among the committees of councilors for maintenance of peace, finance, work, transport and other municipal services. The councils should operate under a form of majority rule and joint responsibility.
- The expenditure of the citizen’s government should be met from the revenues collected by the provincial tax collecting apparatus and directly credited to the account of each district, tehsil/talukas, village and cluster of villages. The revenues of the poorest councils may receive a subsidy from the provincial government.
The provinces should exercise power over all matters not specified in the jurisdiction of the citizen’s and federal governments.
- The government of the province should conduct inter-provincial relations and relation with the federal government. The province should maintain provincial irrigation system and manage matters not specified as the exclusive jurisdiction of the citizen’s government.
- Each province should be free to decide the hierarchy of the organs of the state, guaranteeing the observance of the principles of social contract enunciated in the preceding paragraphs.
- If approved by the provinces, the authority of the federal government may be limited to external affairs, defense, communications, currency, State Bank, import, export, elections, nationality and immigration, collection of income tax and custom duties. Money bills should be passed by the senate as well. National economic council, National Finance Commission should be abolished. High Court judges should be appointed by the province. The power of the president to issue a proclamation of Emergency should be limited to the times and areas when there is threat of war or external aggression.
Foreign & Defense Policy:
- Pakistan should pursue a foreign policy of an independent sovereign nation and should have no problem in establishing mutually beneficial relations with the great powers in the world.
- The real guarantee for the emergence of a sovereign Pakistan lies in its healthy relations with the countries of South and South West Asia. There exists a massive commonality in the economic and strategic interests of Pakistan and the countries of the region including Turkey which can form the basis of very close cooperation. In the global context, Pakistan close friend China should be continued.
- The strategies for the defense of Pakistan are at present hugely dependent on the US as its main source f supplies of arms, military aid should be re-examined and amended.
- Pakistan finds itself fully traped in the whirl of liberalization, privatization and globalization. The public sector in competition with the private sector, needs to be revived in several fields such as electricity and other forms of energy, communication, water supplies, housing of the poor, food distribution and buffer stocks.
- The banking laws should be amended to allow landless peasants students and skilled persons or professional s and men and women of little means to get loans from government or banks.
- The extra ordinary shortage of housing in Pakistan should be removed by providing land to the needy and by building flats for the homeless.
- The vestiges of the feudalism should be removed through land reforms and other measures.
- The working classes desperately need laws to strengthen unions to achieve common important goals such as improving wages, hours of work, work rules, procedures of complaint against working conditions, rules governing hiring and firing and promotion of workers, regulation in respect of benefits and the creation of a cartel of labor.
- briefly outlines above are actionable points. They constitute concrete measures to establish a genuine democratic order through transferring political, economic and social power to the people at three levels- citizens, provincial and federal. The new social contract thus created shall enable the citizens to maintain peace and security in the community and dispense justice among themselves. At last they will be able to exercise sovereign power and maintain a contact vigil over their freedom. The proposed structure of the governance shall rescue Pakistan from the predicament of an untenable state and put it on the road to peace, freedom and prosperity. The people need urgently to mobilize themselves for the change. It must happen now. Time is ripe. Perhaps it is now or never.