Courtesy: Daily Dawn Karachi, Sindh August 14, 2009
HYDERABAD: Validity of 1973 Constitution has come to an end due to continuous undemocratic interventions, extra-constitutional amendments and its inherent flaws. The current constitution could not resolve the intra-state political and economic conflicts, Sindh political and civil society activists said here on Wednesday while initiating an effective discussion to design what they said a comprehensive list of demands acceptable to all. The 1973 Constitution should work for an interim period leading to a new constitution based on 1940 resolution through a new elected constituent assembly. That constitution would work as a new social contract among the federating units of Pakistan , they said.
In a consultative workshop jointly organised by the South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK), Centre for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS) and We Journalists, they introduced a draft of demands to have a consensus by people representing sections of society.
According to them, time is ripe now to form a list of national demands, acceptable to political parties, civil society groups and other segments of society.
Veteran politician Rasool Bux Palijo, Taraqi Passand Party chairman Dr Qadir Magsi, Save Sindh Movement chief Shah Mohammad Shah, senior Marxist Jam Saqi, Abdul Khaliq Junejo of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM), Dr Dodo Maheri of the Sindh United Party, Abrar Qazi of the Sindh Democratic Forum, CPCS Executive Director Jami Chandio, We Journalist head Jaffar Memon, SAP Pakistan Sindh coordinator Zulfiqar Shah and a large number of intellectuals, civil society representatives, writers and activists took active part in the discussion.
They emphasized the need to bring constitutional reforms to avoid further uncertainty among the provinces. They also discussed the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, local people’s rights to natural resources and provincial autonomy.
They were of the view that Pakistan had become a structurally imbalanced federation after the separation of East Pakistan ( Bangladesh ). One province dominated all the state institutions and enjoyed an absolute majority in parliament over the other three provinces.
Military should have no role and stake in politics and public life, they said and suggested that armed forces should be downsized and should have equal representation from all the provinces.
Some of the speakers said that if a province called for centre’s help to maintain the law and order, like Pakistan Rangers functioning in Sindh for the purpose, it should be clarified as to who would bear the expenses. The centre should bear the cost.
They said Sindh spent a major chunk of its budget on Rangers for maintaining the law and order, which affected the development work in the province.
They said illegal immigrants should have no right to purchase and get land on lease in Sindh and cast vote. GST and Excise taxes were provincial subjects and they should be given to provinces, instead of the centre, they urged.
Mr Rasool Bux Palijo said the elected representatives, instead of launching welfare projects, were working against Sindh and its people. They were the enemies of the people, he said, adding that the prime minister, representing the PPP, says the government wanted to build Kalabagh dam which would devastate Sindh.
Shah Mohammad Shah said the stakeholders should have an accurate charter of demands.
Mohammad Ali Shah said it was a good start regarding the new social contract and it should be extended to other provinces.