A petition demanding a referendum on whether Pakistani citizens want a presidential form of government against the parliamentary system has been lodged in the Supreme Court.
The petitioner- Dr. Sadiq Ali, a civil engineer by profession who has done Ph.D. in turbine design from Ulster University UK – has pleaded that hearing of the case must be broadcast live on all mainstream media for the larger public interest as it would help Pakistani citizens understand about the presidential form of government.
According to details, Dr. Sadiq has contended that the Supreme Court should issue directions for Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold a referendum under Article 48 (6) of the 1973 Constitution.
Article 48 (6) states:
If at any time the Prime Minister considers it necessary to hold a referendum on any matter of national importance, he may refer the matter to a joint sitting of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and if it is approved in a joint sitting, the Prime Minister may cause such matter to be referred to a referendum in the form of a question that is capable of being answered by either “Yes” or “No.”
Terming the parliamentary form of government as a duplicitous system, the petitioner argued that the existing form of government has miserably failed in addressing the issue of public debt and unemployment. It has also failed in expanding the industrial base of the country to address the balance of trade issue. Over the years, it has been unable to attract foreign direct investment as well.
Therefore, it is imperative to unify the command of public governance through a presidential system.
While highlighting the shortcomings of the existing form of government, the petitioner claimed that lawmakers deliberately evade parliamentary sessions. As a result, sessions, during which important matters pertaining to public interest could have been addressed, are prorogued due to lack of quorum.
Besides, politicians have a knack of changing loyalties before every general election. After the elections, rather than promoting the public interest, they blackmail the government to push their vested interests.
Therefore, a healthy opposition and a strong government are unable to take care of the wellbeing and welfare of the people.
Last week, another petition seeking the introduction of a presidential form of government was lodged in Supreme Court.
The petitioner- Tahir Aziz Khan, chairman of recently founded Hum Awam Pakistan party- invoked Article 184 (3) of the 1973 Constitution which deals with the Supreme Court’s authority to enforce the fundamental rights of the citizens.
Article 184 (3) states:
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II is involved, have the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article.
Tahir Aziz Khan contended that the fundamental rights of the people enshrined in Chapter 1 of the Constitution are being violated under the parliamentary form of government.
Therefore, Pakistani citizens should be accorded a chance through a referendum to choose a presidential form of governance if they want so.