Sunday Special: Civilian supremacy – Distant dream or achievable reality

Civilian supremacy is indispensable, said newly appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa asking the stake holders to sit, discuss, debate one of the night mares of the nation and politicians.

His words pointed to the most dangerous, treacherous and complicated issue of excluding the interference by men in uniform in civil matters of the national administration.

The political victimization, the incarceration of politicians on allegations of corruption and counter arguments to “give respect to vote” and indirect reference to interference by armed forces is considered as one of the basic ills and a divisive force, which needs to be tackled if country is to progress and prosper in all spheres of life.

Pakistan was envisioned by its founder and thinkers as a confederal democratic state with Islamic principles as guiding force. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah enunciated in his speeches to people of Pakistan that civilians, the populace will be the masters with bureaucrats and armed forces to be their servants.

Unfortunately Quaid-e-Azam could not live long making the democratic norms strong and deeply entrenched into body politics of the new country.

The assassination of Quaid-e-Millat Khan Liaquat Ali Khan and change of governments in quick successions weakened the political system and only political party Pakistan Muslim League which was divided into a number of factions. Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan headed ‘Convention League’ and with his successs against Mohtarama Fatima Jinnah titled Madr-e-Millat, the rule by civilians or elected politicians came to an abrupt end giving rise to rule by men in uniform.

The country’s chequered  political history with democratic dispensation disrupted by Martial Laws and abrogation of constitutions eroded the superiority of civilian rule.

In contrast India, now termed as biggest democracy witnessed a smooth sailing. It’s leaders soon after independence were able to make the democracy strong and unchallenged till today.

Its military confined it to its constitutional role and never even thought of taking over reins of the country by imposing martial law.

Pakistan today faces worst ever economic situation and was at brink of losing its economic independence, its judicial, political  and administrative structure unable to  solve problems faced by its people.

In the giving situation with every institution alleged to be encroaching, intruding into others’ domain, bitter tones and tongues, threat of another round of musical chair (changing governments) and wide spread injustices do demand that the biggest ill i.e. role of every institution be well defined and once it is done then every institution to remain in these confines.

A national dialogue as suggested by the CJP Khosa is not only the need of the hour but also the means to strengthen the basic structure of the country.

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