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Domestic Political, International Political, Terrorism

US

Awami Awaz, 28 December, p 6

Pakistan: Editorial Says Parliament Must Be Saved to Save Democracy

Editorial: "We Must Save Parliament to Save Pakistan" -- All Words Within Double Quotation
Marks, As Published.

During a rally in Garhi Khuda Bakhash, President Asif Ali Zardari has said that I am son of soil,
and can understand the pangs of the land. He said that we all are subordinate to the Parliament
and the democracy, and we all listen to Parliament. This is the democracy, he added. For that
democracy, we have asked people for the sacrifices, and whenever we would go for the
competition, it would be a democratic way. Hence, no institution would do anything extra
constitutional, he said.

In democratic nations, when democratic governments do their business in a proper way, a clash
between institutions never takes place. Every institution works within the defined boundaries.
Pakistan is the one of the world's country where democracy has never been allowed to grow and
it has always been suppressed. This is the reason that democracy has not developed in Pakistan.

When in any country, undemocratic forces get strong, and the democratic institutions are
shutdown, human rights, constitution, development and public wellbeing also go to the dogs
along with democratic institutions. Eventually, inflation, unemployment, poverty and destitution
rule the roost over there . The dreams of prosperity and development stuck in the quagmires of
martial laws, and devastation and destruction become fate of these countries. The world has
witnessed that in societies, where democracy has taken firm rooms, the educational development,
social prosperity, human rights, law, justice and constitution continue to grow. Poverty, hunger
and unemployment fade away. Prosperity, economic development, happiness and success are
destined for them. If we have to make Pakistan a prosperous nation, we must save democracy at
any cost and by any way, must back supremacy of law, justice and constitution and stop
dictatorship. These principles are a guarantee to Pakistan's prosperity and development.

From the very first day the incumbent government of Pakistan People's Party [PPP] came into
power, every trick in the book has been tried to attack the democracy, but the Supreme Court has
always backed the supremacy of law and constitution for the survival of the democracy and has
never legitimized any dictatorial step. For the very first time in the history of the country,
opposition has also been supporting the democratic government rather than conceding to the
dictatorship and making efforts to bring down the government.

However, with the tricks of picking up holes in the government, showing defiance against the
government decisions, sometime reminding the Memo scandal and at other time the Abbottabad
incident, and holding meetings of severe criticism regarding Mohmand Agency check post or
foreign policy, the democratic government has never been allowed to implement its desired
agenda. However, the dismissal of president and the removal of the prime minister is discussed a
lot.

We do not mean unnecessary support for the president or the prime minister. If some factions
want to remove the prime minster, rules and regulations have been set down in constitution to do
that, and such acts are not bad by any means, for they are deemed as beauty of the democracy.
The rulers should be asked to secure the vote of confidence. If they win the vote of confidence,
they would have every right to be in the power. However, in case they do not get the vote of
confidence, they have no right to retain their current positions.

The Parliament elects the prime Minister and the president. Under the constitution, the
personalities of prime minister and the president are not important, but the posts carry respect.
The existence of the Parliament is very important, because if the Parliament is there, the
democracy is also there.

Hence, it is very important that the Parliament should complete its tenure. If the Parliament is not
present, then no institution could be in its current form.

The way the constitutional institutions are performing their responsibilities at this critical
juncture of the history, within the ambit of constitution, they repeat their resolves to protect the
democratic institutions. Having seen all this, there would be no exaggerations that this is the
golden age of the protection of the democracy in the history of Pakistan. It is quite true that the
way the constitutional institutions as well as the opposition are making efforts to protect the
democracy and the Parliament are highly commendable.

This is also not true that the rulers are taking every step in 100 percent correct directions or the
government has accomplished the manifesto it announced during the election campaign, or
inflation, unemployment, hunger and impoverishment have faded and everyone is now
prosperous. Would it, however, be right to punish democracy and public for the wrong deeds of
the rulers? Should they be deprived of their rights? Or should the constitutional institutions be
shut down? This is unacceptable by any means, and public would not support any undemocratic
and unconstitutional step, and it should not be expected from the people in the future either.

It is also true that opposition has full right to harshly criticize governmental steps on the floor of
the assembly. If the rulers are involved in any illegal or unconstitutional act, independent
judiciary can held trial of the ruling party ministers, officials or parliamentarians, and they can be
cross-questioned. It can disqualify them and can give better explanations to the constitutional
clauses. Not only public but also the Parliament would accept these steps without raising
eyebrows in that not only judiciary has explained the constitution, but also it has accepted the
rules and regulations framed by the parliamentarians and implemented their legislation. Then the
establishment would take actions under judicial orders.
These all institution can only be strengthened and take actions independently when the most
respected institution of the country would be strong.

If at this moment, we save the Parliament, it would be just like have we saved the country,
because only the democratic government can cope with the challenges of the extreme insurgency
underway in the Balochistan and the disturbances going in the northern areas. The reason is that
every province has representation in the Parliament and the elected members are the voice of the
their respective areas in the Parliament.

However, if the voice of elected members is tried to be suppressed with the force of dictatorship,
and the martial law is imposed, there would be such a "raucous" voices from all corners of the
country, which would not be suppressed by the force of any gun. They may be silenced at the
gunshots, but any dictatorship would be tantamount to the partition of the country. Because after
the martyrdom of the Akbar Bugti, the critical situation we have gone through indicate which
direction the country is heading to.

In fact, all the major world powers have joined hands to disintegrate this seventh nuclear power
and the first Islamic nuclear country, for they cannot tolerate an Islamic country with nuclear
bomb any more.

The gray clouds would continue hovering over Pakistani horizon until the problems of Balochis
are solved, they are brought in the Parliament to know the sufferings inflicted by the Pervez
Musharraf regime, and the promises are not made from the floor of the Parliament to end their
sufferings.

Hence, it is very important to save Parliament to save Pakistan.