Derailment of democracy to endanger federation: Rabbani

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and Senator Raza Rabbani on Friday said that any attempt to derail democracy in the country would not only endanger democracy but may also threaten the federation.

Addressing a press conference to present his ‘open letter’ addressed to the different segments of society at Karachi Press Club along PPP leader Waqar Mehdi, Senator Saeed Ghani and others, Rabbani said that PPP had differences with PML-N on several issues but it would not let anyone to destabilize democracy.

He said that an elected government was overturn by a dictator on the midnight of 4 and 5 July 1977. “Pakistan is still suffering badly from the consequences of that dictatorship and the current situation was also gift of past dictatorship era’s specially that of Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf,” the senator said. He said that political forces should learn lesson from past and avoid any attempt to derail democracy in the country.

He presented a 15-point Benazir Bhutto Model to Democratic Transition which included three major segments entitled Constitution-Federalism, Civil-Military relations-Governance and Fundamental Rights-Society.

Elaborating the first point, he said that charter of democracy should be revisited to bring new covenant among democratic forces, reaffirming federal and parliamentary structures in 1973 Constitution, commitment on federalism and devolution under 1973 constitution and make sure supremacy of parliament.

Explaining second segment, Rabbani said that civil and military relations should be redefined and process of dialogue and development be formed at executive and parliamentary levels, shun ad-hocism and develop good governance system including Civil Services Reforms, ensure independence of judiciary and create national consensus against intolerance and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

For third segment, he said that the government should protect rights of minorities, women and children, economic and political rights of working and middle class, ensure implementation of Article 38 of 1973 constitution and develop balance in quota system and merit in providing jobs.

He urged upon rights for education to every child, academic freedom and respect of autonomy for universities and rights for provinces to make changes in curriculum especially in history subject. He called for promoting regional cultures and freedom of press through safeguarding rights of working journalists.

He also demanded 50 percent ownership for federal and provincial governments on mineral oil and natural gas reserves.

Rabbani cited terrorist groups, sectarian violence and politics, existence of foreign funded nationalist insurgencies in provinces, economic disparity between ruling elite and common man, collapse of governance system, tension among civil military relations and elements within state apparatus seeking to pursue pan Islamic Policy as reasons for chaos in the country.

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