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Democracy in Pakistan an apology

Is Pakistan short on intellect? Not by any standards then why is the constitution so laid bare by the powers that be – military or civil? Constitutional political economy is an intellectual endeavour inasmuch as it has to balance efficiency and justice. These are notional issues at the beginning and need to be asserted and balanced. Justice should emerge naturally from a constitutional process, whereas efficiency must be achieved by conscious effort.

All issues, if we consider them logically, fall between these two notions or the interplay between these two. Fundamentally, Pakistan is also concerned with formal rules within informal rules that govern caste and creed and ethnicity. These rules are superimposed by the formal rules and the effectiveness is undone. The intellect takes a kick because the ‘Sindh card’, the ‘Kashmiri card’, the Jat, Arain and the Rajput castes to name only a few play a major part in the functioning or non-functioning of the constitution. Can a single political leader avert otherwise? The Balochistan package is another form of sand paper policies where the country has been scratched in such a way that the country will pay and bleed for at least 40 years because of the inefficiencies that were or are created as a result of recruitment to jobs that required a greater degree of expertise.

The bawas of Gowalmandi, the gujjars of Mandi Bahauddin and the Arains of Sahiwal must all explain their conduct. Efficiency addresses matters as they stand while justice addresses matters as they should be. Constitutional political economy works through an axiomatic government system where positive and negative factors are so balanced that the best of the best comes through-whether via the market or through the regulations imposed by the constitution. The sum total is that the rules impose a dignified manner of treatment for all citizens. The outcome has to be universal rather than personal. The political institutions that Pakistan has will ultimately determine how well a written constitution works. It is not a piece of paper but a living document on which depend the lives and well being of 180 million people.

The difficulty that one faces immediately is that since change is part of the system, who will determine when the parts are to be changed. Change is inevitable and therefore the rules of one period will emerge as constraining work in another period. Who will and how will this be determined? Rules are only as effective as their implementation. What aspects of the 18th amendment have been implemented? One seeks answers but one runs up against a blank wall. In fact, the amendment has been used to thief files and to destroy any evidence that is incriminating. Is there then a time period before rules become obsolete? It is my understanding that the devolution process was really the work of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) which is an inter-provincial body that considers areas of conflicts between provinces. It does not have the sanctity of the parliament as such.

If one were to count the cost of this haphazard devolution one will be hard put to explain the loss incurred. Was devolution not meant to distribute the fairness and incomes? Is the recent effort at creating new provinces a similar exercise? None of this will pass the fairness test for unfairness is part and parcel of the psyche of the Pakistanis and that is not going to change in the short run or any run. What has not been done in 65-odd years how does one expect that similar actions will not happen across the country? We are not even conscious of failure and the fact that one failure is superimposed by another failure. The failures are now as high as the Himalayan Mountains. Consider any aspect of any situation in Pakistan and one will find a nigger in the woodpile (or fence).

Where are the rules and regulations and who will decide how the constitution will be interpreted? Does it mean that the interpretation of these rules and regulations are not to be based on reason? Where is the logic? The political system has gone haywire. Let us concede this. For if we do not concede where we have gone wrong we will have keep on making strategic mistakes that will ultimately lead to the ki

Dr. Zafar Altafa, "Democracy in Pakistan an apology," Business recorder. 2013-02-16.