ISLAMABAD: Senators on Wednesday noted that the concept of a caretaker setup negates the essence of parliamentary democracy.

At the very outset of the Senate proceedings soon after adoption of a motion seeking to dispense with the requirement of question hour during the remaining sittings of the current session, Senator Saadia Abbasi of PML-N called for removing anomalies from the Constitution to promote democracy in the country.

Criticising the performance of the caretaker government, she said: “It is our collective responsibility to rectify the legacy they are leaving behind”. She said the concept of caretakers was negation of the parliamentary democracy as governments come and go across the world with the incumbent prime minister continuing till his successor comes in.

She said those who think the sitting prime ministers cannot be fair and impartial have seen what was done during the caretakers’ rule. She urged all lawmakers to play their role in promoting democracy and human rights and removing anomalies from the Constitution.

Irfan Siddiqui of the same party fully agreed with her and said the system of caretaker governments should be done away with.

He said that as far as the question of performance was concerned, the regular governments too can perform poorly, and it has been witnessed in the past. As a matter of principle, he said there should be no room for the caretaker government as the world has already moved ahead, leaving behind this concept.

The caretakers who recently left had been running governments in provinces for 13-14 months while the caretakers in the Centre stayed for seven months.

“What kind of caretakers are they when elections are held, but fingers are raised on the transparency and their performance,” he said.

He said the concept of a caretaker government should now end and NAB should be packed up and Articles 62 and 63 should be restored to their original shape, as was in the 1973 Constitution, to which PPP also agrees.

PPP’s Moula Bux Chandio, who is bowing out after completing his six-year term, in his farewell speech, advised institutions responsible for the country’s security to respect democracy and not to derail it. “You should not try to derail democracy. You should respect democracy,” he emphasised.

Mr Chandio urged judges that their posts are transitory while some of the judges believe they will always occupy their posts, but there are certain judges who are no more in this world, but the people still remember them with utmost respect while a few others having retired recently, but none even asks about them now.

Without naming anyone, Senator Chandio stressed the need for a dialogue among politicians to take the country forward and said that as politicians have to run the country then how could it be done without holding talks with each other.

“You are not a kid. You have grown up now: to say I will not talk to politicians and I will not shake hands with them. Are you an angel or will you talk to angels, if you don’t talk to politicians?” he asked.

Everyone should admit the mistakes made in the past to move forward.

He said institutions should also act in a manner that enhances the confidence of the masses in them. He wanted the Senate to be empowered to play more effective role and warned against any conspiracy to undo the 18th amendment, which he believed had strengthened the provinces’ faith in the federation.

PTI’s Faisal Javed said that those who did not consider Imran Khan a politician, name him in media shows to increase their rankings.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2024

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