Pakistan has always oscillated between the good and the bad Governance Models as both the civil and the military powers holding the reins of the country one after another. It is unfortunate for the people of Pakistan that despite the passage of 71 years of Independence, we have not been able to find the best Governance Model yet that may serve our subjects in a better way and bring social and economic prosperity.
The Post-Independence period was tattered as Pakistan faced various economic, Social and infrastructural challenges.Pakistan was deprived of its due share from the joint resources at the time of partition.
Yet, Quaid’s able leadership and brave leadership did not let Pakistan go down since he was visionary and had the clear roadmap to steer the county through crisis to prosperity with planning and untiring efforts. He was of the View that if Pakistan’s problems were not addressed or resolved, It may have failed as the state.
The consequential Martial Laws furthered the woes of people that implemented dictatorial laws which were not meant for the people and were contrary to human rights as safeguarded by the constitution. These were the basis that prompted people to denounce such the military coups and raised their voices to regain their freedom of speech and freedom to act according to one’s wishes and intentions.
Pakistan has experienced both the Presidential and parliamentary form of governance. It has also experienced Civil and Military coups and even sustained so far except the Fall of Dhaka in 1971 when Sheikh Mujib was denied the Government despite having an absolute majority to form the government.
As a result of Governance Crisis, Pakistan has suffered on many fronts i.e economic, social and Security. The Ill-will of the feudal nature of Politicians has forcibly sunk the ship of Pakistan by creating a leadership vacuum and gave rise to corrupt practices that played havoc with its fragile and fractured path.
The changing Governance Models, lack of proper Constitutional Development and consensus building have forced the Fragile state to fall in the Governance crisis since no policy framework was followed that may have provided the basis of Constitutional development. The Institutional Building was not initiated that triggered the constant pull in the civil-military relationship.
That was evident from the promulgation of First Constitution on 23rd March 1956, Nine years after the independence, unfortunately, the Martial law was imposed after two and half years of its inaction on 7th October 1958 by the powerful man in our history General Ayoob Khan.
Being a military General, Ayoob khan wanted a controlled and reasonably weaker form of Democracy, since he believed the western form of Democracy does not suit to Pakistan. Consequently, he introduced the 1962 Constitution which came into force on 1st March 1962.
The biggest change in form governance was the introduction of the Presidential form of government since all the powers vested in the president. He was both head of state and head of Government. The Provinces were given autonomy, equality of mankind, independence of the judiciary; rights of minorities were salient features of the constitution.
The Islamic advisory council was also constituted to advise Govt. over Islamic injunctions or laws.
The presidential form of Government was more suitable since all the power vested in President who was elected directly and there was no burden of ineffective legislators just the skeleton Ministers, Provincial Governors and the staff was enough to run the state affairs in a very effective manner since decision making was on the fast track.
“Even the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam had envisaged 71 years ago during his speech found in the handwritten paper that the presidential form of Government is suitable for Pakistan since a parliamentary form of Government does not work owing to feudal vested interests, illiteracy and lack of visionary leadership.
Actually, he had given clear roadmap that as long as feudalism and feudal approach exists in Pakistan, the democracy cannot develop its roots deeper since these feudal politicians have vested interests that are detrimental to people who vote them to power and tantamount to Islamic Ideologies.”
With the resignation of General Ayoob, the constitutional crises once again aggravated with the abrogation of 1962 constitution.
The story unfolded when Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman had succeeded in winning the majority in the first ever general elections of Pakistan held in 1970 but the then military ruler, President General Yahya Khan, had refused categorically to transfer power to him. Sheikh Mujib was imprisoned in Mianwali. General Yahya resigned succumbing to internal pressure.
Then we had the best constitution gifted by Shaheed Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. The 1973 constitution promulgated on 14th August 1973 with an overwhelming majority. The 1973 constitution was the turning point in the history of Pakistan as it was considered the complete constitution which safeguarded the rights of every citizen. Though East Pakistan was separated in 1971, yet Bhutto steer the country out of governance and constitutional crisis and had solved the long-standing issue.
Even, he was not spared, he was hanged under Zia regime and was inducted in the Murder plot of Nawaz Mohammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri’s, consequently hanged on 3rd April 1978. Bhutto during his premiership reshaped the foreign policy and made people friendly and people-centric decisions that disrupted the status quo and had great economic extinct since he wanted to establish a World Islamic Bank in Pakistan with the help of Islamic Countries.
Bhutto’s speech UN general assembly still echoes in our hearts as No leader in our history had made such fearless and emotional speech that rocked the Superpowers.
Unfortunately, we could not get such a brave and fearless leader who could speak eye to eye with the enemies and even to the Superpowers.
Though we had a leader like Mohammad Khan Junejo who was also a good Statesman and had ignited the real dream of Welfare State his powers were curtailed by former Chief Martial law Administrator and later Elected President through the so-called referendum General Ziaul Haq.
Later, Benazir Bhutto, the great daughter of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rose to heights of success but his teammates sunk her ship through corrupt practices in Government. Then, Pakistan went into the two-party system i.e. PPP and PML from 1988 to October 1999.
In 1999, Pakistan experienced yet another military involvement that sent PML-N government packing by General Musharraf. PM Nawaz was jailed and later released on the interference of Saudi kings and exiled with family.
Musharraf after three years, held elections and his Party PML-Q win the elections. In 2007, Benazir Bhutto returned from Self Exile and apparently assassinated during the Public gathering.
Benazir’s Murder brought the turmoil in the country. PPP won 2008 elections on a sympathy vote and Zardari became the President after Musharraf relinquished due to fears of impeachment.
It was the first time that any civilian Government had completed their term and laid the foundation of Democratic Transition.
The PPP government was not impressive and effective but the only good thing they had done that was the 18th amendments that had offered autonomy to the provinces and few federal ministries were devolved to the Provinces including Health and Education.
The 18th amendment also paved the way for the premier to be elected for the third term as earlier it was just two terms. PML-N won 2013 elections with the majority and completed their term but PM Nawaz was disqualified due to Panama Papers case few months before completion of the tenure.
Finally, democratic transition worked again, and the PTI came into power with the slogan of change and making Naya Pakistan.
if we analyze our history, we would be disappointed to know that most of the time, the Martial Law Administrator governed our country as compared to the civilian Government. This gives the message that Pakistani electoral framework only suits a single powerful system means the presidential form of Government as practised in Turkey, Afghanistan and US.
The presidential form of Government is the strong as the president is the head of State and the head of a Government at the same time. He appoints his ministers from professionals, technocrats and Legislature. He makes timely decisions as a Parliamentary form of Government does not allow implementing policies without the debate and without approval from the parliament.
We are still going through a transition and learning from our past mistakes, yet we need to mull over that which Governance Model suits our people–Parliamentary form of Government or Presidential form of Government or Mixture of both.
It is not the time of meddling with both systems or engage in the debate of good or bad system but we should adopt the best governance system suits Pakistan and benefits the common men and bridges the gap between state and the subjects. The system which provides access to justice offers equal opportunities regardless of religion, caste or creed.
It has been seven decades since independence that we are struggling to form a strong and vibrant system that benefits the people of Pakistan. The issue warrants public debate and is open to the public to give their input which system of Governance may be fruitful for them that strengthens the federation, Federating units and builds the basis of good governance.
Though we have a new government in place but the old players of Opposition Parties PPP, PML-N and JUI, MMA and ANP are giving a tough time to hide their corrupt practices. Therefore, if we want the state to flourish and prosper, we need to put the presidential form of governance for a four or five year to analyze whether it is physible for Pakistan and produces desired results. Either, We have to part ways with the parliamentary form of Government or adhere to the Presidential form of Government as practised in developed nations of the world.