Relive the Constitution – 11 Apr 2023

The legislature, judiciary and the executive five decades down the line must learn to coexist

As the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the Constitution of Pakistan yesterday, it is an opportunity to deeply introspect as to how humbly we have abided with its original spirit of division of powers and emancipation of the society. Notwithstanding a plethora of regrets in our parliamentary history, coupled with truncated representative regimes, what the nation-state has to pride, at least, is the 1973 Constitution. It is a landmark document that categorically enshrines democratic norms and envisages a pluralistic-cum-progressive society. Its canons of governance are federal in essence, with maximum provincial autonomy, and assures at length social justice and equality as it consciously bestows sovereignty in the people’s chosen representatives. A glance at the Constitution from its preamble to principles of policy, and the subsequent 23 amendments that came its way have one way or the other evolved it into an organic testimonial. All that is needed is its implementation in letter and spirit, and with the astute resolve to hold it supreme and sacrosanct, free from the hobnobbing of petty interests. That is how a befitting tribute can be vouched as we watch our steps and refrain from putting it anymore in abeyance.

The 1973 Constitution has seen every form of dispensation in its five decades of survival. From weak elected governments to military rules, and from law of necessity doctrines to 18th amendment that literally rewrote the working relationship of state organs, the law of the land has had enough somersaults. The fact that it is in vogue, despite abject political reservations and ill-will to undermine its spirit, is all owing to the people of Pakistan who cherish and stand with its dogmatic essence. This sentiment must live on, and its supremacy assured at any cost. Of late, the diatribe to defeat its ascendancy and abrogate the checks and balances in its body politick is regrettable. Let the soul of the document to retain the concept of separation of powers and bar each organ of the state from crossing its limits be untouchable. The legislature, judiciary and the executive five decades down the line must learn to coexist, and see through the same prism. It is a must for our civilised survival.

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