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Strengthening Democratic Values | Iftikhar Ahmad

Clear verdict against Indian Prime Minister’s “cow politics” in elections has provided a way forward for opposition to unite against Hindu nationalism. The BJP began its election campaign in Bihar on a platform of economic development. Anticipating defeat BJP claimed that a defeat for Modi would be a victory for Pakistan. That is the kind of mindset. Rahul Gandhi said the verdict was against Modi’s narrow politics, against BJP efforts to pit Hindus against Muslims. Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan has said, India was facing a climate of extreme intolerance.

While Indian politics under BJP is self-destructive, it is a great threat to India’s neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Muslims in India – Kashmiris are up against Indian Brutalities. State terrorism has not helped India to stop resistance movement. Kashmiris must be granted their right of self-determination as per resolutions of the United Nations. It is time that the world community takes notice of Indian extremism and illegal occupation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Mirwaiz Farooq and Ali Gilani both spoke with one voice from house arrest that the Kashmiri people’s sacrifices could not be bought.

Modi is silent on hate being fuelled by Shiv Sena and others. Hinduvta agenda presents to India a picture of gloom and doom that the country could be torn apart by such a divisive policies and tinkering that Modi has been continuing with neighbouring countries and exporting terrorism and extremism.

International community should take notice of Indian sponsored terrorism in Pakistan, and especially the confession of Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bangladesh that India played a role in breaking Pakistan, referring to the secession of East Pakistan. Modi’s statement in Dhaka is a fit case for the International Court of Justice. Modi had expressed joy over the breakup of a neighbouring country in which his country’s army had a role.

Scenario that exists in India of today and threats that country poses suggest that political and military leadership in Pakistan should plan and organize what needs to be done to meet challenges that confront us to upgrade our economy; to enhance our defence capabilities; to make concerted efforts to strengthen our diplomatic and political influence around the globe; and to create an enabling culture for positive change and reforms in our society for building and strengthening interrelated set of institutions with structures and superstructure that could help us achieve new mission and goals.

It was for the first time in our country’s parliamentary and political history that a serving Chief Justice addressed the senate. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said, a state that fails to provide justice can not sustain, insisting that all institutions have to play their due role in ensuring inexpensive and speedy justice to the masses. Importance of parliament in making legislation is duly acknowledged. Judiciary has to intervene when rights are denied or violated. Implementation is primarily an executive function but it becomes a matter of judicial consideration when rights are denied and at this point the judiciary is compelled to order organizational reforms.

It is more appropriate that governments lead this effort. But due to often grave consequences of poor implementation and weak administration courts have been compelled to delve into organizational matters.

The state justice sector caters for only 20 percent of the disputes. 80 percent of disputes in the country are resolved by unregulated informal justice sector such as Jirgas and Punchayats.

The need was for the lawmakers to understand the importance of strengthening national institutions. Primary responsibility of the chosen representatives of the people was to ensure that the constitutional mandate was effectively implemented and citizens lives and interests were protected and promoted effectively in line with public welfare and common good.

Root causes behind the law and order situation have to be understood. The role of institutions including the rule of law and lessons to be learned from cases in governance – ‘Successes and failures’ etc. were important factors to be kept in mind. A continuous interaction is essential for the executive, judiciary and legislature to function effectively and meaningfully. Performance of public enterprises and semi-autonomous bodies depends largely on how the government performs to deliver to the people. Efforts should be made to create an enabling culture for the growth of an efficient and competitive private sector.

When I represented Pakistan at the United Nations conference on problems of Public Enterprises, held at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1966 all our public enterprises, including those in then East Pakistan were giving excellent performance. Same was the case with the private sector that had contributed significantly to the development of the Eastern wing 1000 miles away from the capital (with Indian territory in between). I was assigned the task of organizing an international level seminar on public enterprises, need for renewal and reorganization, drawing participation of experts from UK and the United States. The Seminar was held at NIPA Lahore in 1967. Heads of public enterprises, experts and media shared their experiences and highlighted issues that concerned the government and citizens, focus on problems of authority and accountability and removing difficulties.

To improve things most important factor for Pakistan is to strengthen the federation and to reinforce the writ of the government. Politicians’ unnecessary debates and negative attitude as well self-interests have prevented us from doing things right and doing the right things. For an example, the energy crisis of today and devastating floods that our people experience are a consequence of failure not to build dams. India has constructed hundreds of dams on waters that belong to us.

Those against building Kalabagh dam have committed a criminal offence and they should be made answerable to the people who are suffering. Dams are the cheapest source of electricity in addition to supply of water for irrigation and agricultural development. Water storage is a clear advantage to prevent floods and wide spread devastation every year. In addition to National Security issues our civil-military leadership needs to pay attention to this most serious project to be undertaken without further loss of time.

It is good news for majority of Pakistanis that Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has reclaimed the speaker’s slot by securing 268 votes amid tensions with opposition Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI). The process of electing the speaker has strengthened the democratic values.

The writer is a former director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) a political analyst, public policy expert and an author. His book post 9/11 Pakistan has been published in the United States.


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