Elimination of corruption must to save democracy, moot told

KARACHI: Elimination of Nepotism and Corruption will inevitably eliminate the core issues and help in democratic development, a moot was told. Corruption is the biggest curse of Pakistan and sadly politicians are more involved in this blight.

The moot on “Imperatives of a New Social Contract: Building on the Charter of Democracy & the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment was organized by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair, University of Karachi.

The role of three great Pakistani women including Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Mrs Nusrat Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto cannot be ruled out for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan as in the absence of these great women, Pakistan perhaps would still be living in the era of darkness, authoritarian rule and dictatorship, said Director of Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, Prof Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed.

He lauded Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah who had challenged the dictatorship of Ayub Khan when it was in its hay days and Mohtarma Nusrat Bhutto fought courageously during the last days of Ayub Khan and the early years of general Zia-ul-Haq, particularly during the days when her husband was in prison and was facing trials.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s struggle for the restoration of democracy constitutes a glaring chapter of our history”, he observed.

The founding fathers of Pakistan choose democracy for the Nation however, it later vanish because of the military rule. Since the inception of Pakistan, half of the era is being ruled under military rule, he added. If anything happens good in Pakistan is because of the constitution and other documents. These are all the mistakes of the past that are being corrected today under a constitutional democracy.

Dr. Jaffer Ahmed maintained that it was in the 1980s that one saw the dawn of Ms Bhutto on the political horizon of the country. Taking the mantle of leadership from her father, who was resenting a military rule from behind the bars, she emerged as a symbol of defiance, and one of the most vocal voices for the restoration of democracy.

“Today while again brought to a crossroads and forced to review, if the democratic path is still an option the country could continue to pursue, one needs to look at the past and do a historical audit of our politics. Two questions emerge: If the failure of the civilian regimes fosters the inevitability of extra-political interventions, one may then ask why all the military regimes in the past had to resign in favour of a civilian dispensation”, he questioned.

Dr. Ahmed maintained that the Charter of Democracy carried a vision that could correct some of the major wrong practices which had made inroads in our system and had contaminated it. Many of these proposals were accommodated in the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The 36 clauses of the Charter of Democracy affirmed the commitment of the two major parties regarding democratization and expansion of provincial autonomy.

Sahar Gul, Director SMBB Chair, said the purpose behind organizing SMBB Memorial Lectures is not only to impart democratic education to the various sections of society especially youth; but it was also intended to construct a robust discourse on the pertinent challenges that Pakistani State and Society are passing through.

“We all strongly believe that inclusive narratives and participatory discourses have always played vital role in the developing and shaping thought process of society. Keeping this aim in view we are trying to engage intelligentsia and academia of high stature in this endeavour, and I am optimistically confident that it will definitely open new windows and avenues of thought and discourse in society”, she said.

“Since this is the first lecture of the series, we chose to discuss prospects for the new social contract in Pakistan; because we strongly believe that the State crises in Pakistan merits multi-dimensional open discourses in society”, she added.

With the hope that this intellectual process may find objective solutions of the complexities that we are facing in Pakistan at all levels.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was not only an icon of struggle for sustainable democracy, but she was a visionary leader, who always strived for solution-centric paradigms. Besides the variety of intellectual works and political endeavours, she was the one who initiated Charter of Democracy in 2006.

The Best thing about the Charter was that, it was signed in alliance of two parties, by their leaders, which were current Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples’ Party on May 14, 2006, in London.

The main purpose of the Charter was restoration of civilian democratic rule, and ending the military rule established by the Coup d’etat brought by General Pervez Musharraf.

The Charter of Democracy was a great initiative to bring paradigm shift in Pakistan’s federal structure and political system to make democracy more inclusive, sustainable and substantial.

In the concluding remarks Dean Faculty of Social Science Prof. Dr. Moonis Ahmar discuss the key points of the lecture, he said We still need to learn a far as democracy is concern. It’s not all about rights; it’s about the responsibilities too. The lack of tolerance, accountability and research based politics is missing from the political system of Pakistan.

He further added in his remarks that Politicians must restore their credibility by delivering to the Nation; Politicians should connect themselves with the socio-economic problems of common people. Nations are not made by table talks; Nations are made by hard work and dedication.

Acting Vice Chancellor University of Karachi Prof. Dr. Ghazala Rizwani appreciated the lecture program and said it was a good initiative by the SMBB Chair.