As another 23rd March approaches in Pakistan, it is unfortunate that battle lines for confrontation are being drawn instead of practicing restraint, tolerance, and respect for each other, with a commitment to upholding the rule of law. The sanctity of the constitution and its submission by individuals, groups, and institutions is necessary for the restoration of the modern democratic welfare state envisioned by Jinnah, with a functioning economy.
Pakistan’s judiciary must work within the confines of the constitution and give judgments based on it, without any consideration of populism. The parliament alone has the right to legislate and amend the constitution, and this must never be infringed upon by any other institution. Pakistan needs statesmen like Nawabzada Nasrullah who can play a role in defusing this highly polarized political environment through compromise by individuals, without resorting to banning political parties, so that democracy can function and the economy can revive.
The Elite Capture of Pakistan’s economy must be rescinded and replaced with a functional economy where the state collects revenues through direct taxation on all sources of commercial enterprises. While it may not be the business of the state to do business, it is also not the business of state-funded institutions to be involved in commercial ventures and cartels. Emphasis should be on investment in science and technology to attain an economy that boosts exports, promotes healthy competition, and reduces reliance on imports. The agricultural yields of yesteryears must be revived to ensure essential food self-sufficiency.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,