Amending the constitution

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There was no solid proof of financial misconduct, and there was no other way to disqualify the former PM other than the flimsy Article 62-63 of the constitution. The decision to disqualify the PM was legal, and sound, but its constitutional basis leaves much to be desired. The chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Imran Khan, on Sunday announced that the party will oppose any movement that tries to repeal Article 62-63 of the constitution.

His dissent is irrelevant, until he is able to garner enough majorities that he could block such a move. Under these constitutional provisions, there will be barely any politician that is truly “Sadiq and Ameen” enough to qualify for Pakistan’s premiership, including Imran Khan. What needs to be remembered is that the articles were included in the constitution during the regime of General Zia ul Haq, in an attempt to Islamize the constitution. They are there not by democratic debate, but are the whims of a dictator.

There is no harm in debating this issue, or properly defining what Sadiq and Ameen substantially mean. The application of such terminology becomes impossible and in this case, it has led to the questioning of the logic of the Supreme Court’s decision, which under a good constitution would be unquestionable.

Yes, corruption should be accounted for, and integrity should matter, but the articles of the constitution and laws should specifically define what these terms are. If offshore bank accounts and tax evasion are crimes, they need to be spelled out in legislation. We need precise laws create accountability, not on abstract terms that lead to anyone questioning the highest judicial minds. The movement to repeal these articles is not a movement to “secularize” Pakistan as all as claimed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F).

Such ridiculous assertions of “Islam being in danger” only cloud the issue. If corrupt men have risen to power, it has been because of weak laws and weaker implementation. Just declaring someone as not “Sadiq” or “Ameen” does nothing for the physical problem of corruption. It just means that only man in the PM’s office is accountable, not the rest of those who may have committed similar crimes. The constitution of a country is that one document that differentiates between fiction and reality.

Just as Montesquieu says that the laws of a country should be based on the outlook and the setting of the society. Similarly, the constitution of the country should be based on facts that are inherently applicable.

 

 

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