Babar warns against backdoor centrist governance

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Farhatullah Babar has warned that if a centrist or presidential form of government was imposed through back door, it would open a Pandora’s Box and smaller provinces will demand parity in parliament.

He stated this while speaking at a seminar on challenges of the parliamentary system of governance at SDPI in Islamabad on Monday. Barrister Naseem Ahmad Bajwa and MNA Romina Khurshid also addressed the seminar.

Farhatullah Babar said that the parity formula was imprudently applied on former East Pakistan to neutralise its majority status and smaller provinces would also demand parity in assembly if any backdoor attempt was made to deprive them of their rights.

He said that that constitutional mechanisms namely Senate, Council of Common Interest (CCI), National Finance Commission (NFC) and National Economic Council (NEC) were the building blocks of the federation. However the turning on its head of the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the legislature, judiciary and the executive was a great stumbling block against parliamentary democracy, he added.

Reminding that the foundation of Pakistan lay in demand for provincial autonomy and four out of Quaid’s 14 points centred around provincial autonomy, the PPP leader said that the federal parliamentary structure guaranteed not only provincial autonomy but also the federation itself. A resolution of the provincial autonomy issue had taken the wind out of Punjab bashing, he said.

Farhatullah Babar said that whether it was the breakup of Pakistan or the unrest in Balochistan and smaller provinces, these were rooted in political alienation due to centric mindset envisaged in a presidential system.

The centrists will not cease to conspire, he said, adding that conspiracies against federal parliamentary system had not ended.

The PPP senator said that two critical elements of 18th Amendment were strengthening Article 6 so that no court could condone suspension or abrogation of the Constitution under any pretext and ending powers of the president to sack elected governments and parliament. However, some elements were still trying to undo the effect of these far-reaching amendments, he added.