Smaller provinces could demand parity if ignored: Farhatullah Babar

Islamabad: If a centrist or presidential form of government was imposed through back door it will open a pandora box and smaller provinces will demand parity in Parliament, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Farhatullah Babar said on Monday. Speaking at a seminar on challenges to parliamentary system of governance here, he said the parity formula was imprudently applied on former East Pakistan to nutralise its majority status and smaller provinces would also demand parity in Assembly if any back door attempt was made to deprive them of their rights, he said. Constitutional mechanisms namely Senate, Council of Common Interest (CCI), NFC and National Economic Council (NEC) were the building blocks of federation. However the turning on its head of the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the legislature, judiciary and the executive was a great stumbling block against parliamentary democracy, he said. Reminding that the foundation of Pakistan lay in demand for provincial autonomy and four out of Quaid’s 14 points centered around provincial autonomy he said federal parliamentary structure guaranteed not only provincial autonomy but also the federation itself. A resolution of the provincial autonomy issue had taken the wind out of Punjab bashing, he said. Whether it was the breakup of Pakistan or the unrest in Balochistan and smaller provinces these were rooted in political alienation due to centric mindset envisaged in a presidential system, he said. The centrists, the bonaparts and the putshcists will not cease to conspire, he said adding conspiracies against federal parliamentary system had not ended. Two critical elements of 18th amend were strengthening Article 6 so that no court could condone suspension or abrogation of the Constitution under any pretext and ending powers of President to sack elected governments and parliament. However some elements were still trying to undo the effect of these far reaching amendments, he said.