Dawn News

‘Islamabad Long March Declaration’

AT long last the nation has heaved a sigh of relief that the ‘Declaration’ has been signed. This will particularly relieve the several thousand women and their small children who had been bravely facing the inclement weather of Islamabad, as if they were under the influence of some cult. It seems that their plight, besides other factors, was responsible for the capitulation of the government into signing this accord which seems deficient in certain respects.

The first one relates to extending the time for fresh elections to 90 days.

The second one relates to almost veto powers given to the Pakistan Awami Tehrik of Dr Tahirul Qadri in the matter of selecting two ‘honest and impartial persons for appointment as caretaker prime minister’.

I feel these are not in consonance with the Constitution. However, not being an expert, I leave it to the eminent lawyers named in the ‘Declaration’ to confirm that these two provisions do not militate against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

The third one relates to the pre-clearance by the Election Commission of Pakistan of the candidates under Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution and the Supreme Court judgment of June 8, 2012.

While this is a welcome addition to the ‘Declaration’ as far as it goes, this seems to place a tall order on the ECP for compliance within 30 days, granted that the chairman would remain fully fit. Assuming that for each of the National Assembly seats, there will be on an average at least five candidates, it would need verification of credentials of at least 1,660 people, besides checking of their ‘assets’ as ordered by the Supreme Court. What mechanism will the ECP adopt to do a neat unchallenged job of it within 30 days remains uncertain.

Besides any procedure that the ECP might adopt, here is a humble suggestion, unless it is already covered elsewhere. The nomination paper may include the following affirmation or words to that effect by all candidates:

“I hereby solemnly affirm and declare as under: that I am fully aware of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; that I am not disqualified under any provision of the said Articles; and that if at any time it is discovered that I am not so qualified, I shall cease to be a member of the Majlis-i-Shoora parliament), besides any other action that may be taken against me under the law.”

The advantage of the above affirmation is that if someone escapes the scrutiny within the limited time available to the ECP he can be taken to task at any time later on.

S. M. ANWAR Karachi

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Comments (5) Closed

Jan 23, 2013 01:15pm
Are we in the making of state with in a state? Sounds like pre partition era
Abid Khan
Jan 23, 2013 07:00pm
I nominate Najam Sethi as the care taker prime minister to hold honest and transparent elections in Pakistan.
Jan 23, 2013 08:06pm
We are still a slave of this wadera shahi, do we have doubts? See what have they done during last five years. When the victims call for someone else, like SC and Army for relief or follow the one, who takes the courage to get up against them, like Qadri, Wadera Democracy starts getting derailed. Then they all bunch up together and start a firing blast of mean accusations, allegations and character assissination against them may that be Army Chief or Chief Justice or Qadri Sahib. After having got relief from British slavery, we will have to get up and fight against these wadera and their democracy.
Syed Ahmed
Jan 24, 2013 12:01am
Good suggestion.
Dr. Suhail Zaki
Jan 24, 2013 04:02am
Excellent proposal. I fully endorse the signing of the affirmation by the election candidates at the time of submission of candidature forms. This will make the candidates think several times before making a false declaration.