ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has said that in Pakistan, democracy is facing multiple challenges including the challenge of the civil-military relationship, parliament and executive relationship, parliament and judiciary relationship and the challenge of balance between the two houses.
Addressing a seminar here on Thursday, Raza Rabbani said that the learning from the experiences of the other democracies and parliaments is important for Pakistan as we are the democracy in transition and also because we started our journey of transition from dictatorship to democracy.
He said that it is also important to tell the people that parliament is no more debating club and the place of sitting for the politicians rather the initiatives being taken and the efforts of the Senate of Pakistan to legislate on the rights of the federating units and marginalised segments speak volume of the change being taken place.
Talking about the challenge of the civil-military relationship, Raza Rabbani said it is of utmost importance to deliberate and debate on this account as we are in a
transition phase to move from dictatorship to democracy and the institutions have vested interests which are not only political but also economic.
He said that politicians are not against armed forces rather there is defined role for the all the institutions in the constitution of 1973 but unfortunately this constitution is either abrogated or held in abeyance when dictators take over. But the people were and are committed for the rule of law. They rose every time they were beaten-up during the dictatorships and they will rise again as the sun rises every morning. He said the other challenge is that the existing balance of power between the two houses of the Parliament is against the spirit of the 1973 constitution and very purpose for which the upper house was created to represent the federating units.
He suggested that a formula needs to be worked out for equal strength of the both house during the joint setting of the Parliament as the 372 member National Assembly outnumber the Senate having only 104 members representing the rights of the Federation and federating units. The spirit and purpose of the creation of the Senate was the equal representation of the provinces.
Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani reiterated that worst form of democracy is better than dictatorship and that democracy is not a switch of light that one switched it off and switched it on at will rather it is a continues process. Corruption is prevalent in the society but every politician is not corrupt.
He said that as all the institutions have their own system of accountability, the politicians too should be held accountable only by the parliament and not by special courts. No one is above the system but there should be one set of rules for everyone in the society. He emphasized that ‘no one is sacred cow and above the law’. He said that the executive have the tendency to ride rough the parliament and now time has come that the parliament should stand out to protect its powers. INP