APROPOS the news report ‘SC moved for referendum on presidential form of govt’ (Aug 28). There cannot be a more divisive move at this time when various political parties and different sectors of our society are at loggerheads on nearly all issues.
Besides, we should not lose sight of the fact that it is not a system but its implementation which assures its success. We inherited the parliamentary system from the British. The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution, and their government is called her majesty’s government. Yet the queen does not interfere in the business of government.
On the other hand, the presidential system in the United States is developing problems under President Donald Trump. The New York Times (Aug 19 issue) carries a big headline ‘Bending the office of president to his will’. These examples make it clear that it is not the system per se which determines its efficacy but the way it is implemented.
Besides, we should not lose sight of the fact that for nearly half of our national life we were ruled under the presidential system. Generals Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf, and also by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for a brief period.
Some quarters praise Ayub’s rule. However, the progress made during his reign was owing to American military and economic aid, received at the cost of compromising our sovereignty. During Gen Yahya’s watch we lost East Pakistan.
If we change the system, we will have to change the 1973 constitution, which is an excellent document. It has stood the test of time and numerous mutilations by two dictators. Any attempt to make another constitution is unlikely to achieve the consensus enjoyed by the 1973 constitution.
The present system is good enough. The problem lies with implementation. Therefore it is inadvisable to open another Pandora’s Box.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020