Reforms, rapprochement among ‘political institutions’ must to strengthen democracy: Speakers

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar on democratic governance on Sunday said a paradigm shift based on reforms and rapprochement among the institutions forming the political system to strengthen democracy was a must to save the country from irrevocable crises.

The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) organized a one-day seminar on “Democratic Governance for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies” which was held in connection with the upcoming International Day of Democracy.

Prof of Political Science, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr Muhammad Waseem in his keynote address said that there was a clash of institutions in the administrative troika that had weakened the Parliament whereas the latter was a microcosm of a society in different countries.

He added that the elected representatives in the Parliament reflected the society who were weaker and hence, the Parliament was becoming weak in the aftermath.

He regretted that the outgoing parliament led by the coalition government had passed an unprecedented number of bills in the shortest span of time which was horrendous as it left the lawmaking body inefficient in dispensing its duties.

During the panel discussion titled Democratic Governance and Peace in Pakistan, CEO Vision 2047, Zafar Ullah Khan said that the previous regime of coalition parties tried to establish weak impediments through legislation against the Constitution that brewed the prevailing constitutional crisis.

He mentioned that the prevailing political scenario did not conform with the demography of the country. “We need to be pragmatic and realistic in our approach to promote democracy. I am hopeful that the citizens of Pakistan will reclaim their democracy whereas institutional reforms could help Parliament to reclaim its position.”

Former Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice, Mehnaz Akbar Aziz said that the role and representation of women parliamentarians was important as the situation had transitioned from mere representation to their performance in the Parliament.

She said that there was a need for reorganization of the political parties to ensure women’s inclusion at important decision-making fora like the National Security Council where they lacked representation.

PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said at present there was a hybrid system prevailing in the country that comprised of democratic and non-democratic forces which was making democracy weaker in the country by every passing day.

He was of the view that in order to put an end to the prevailing uncertainty and political deterioration it was important to abolish this hybrid system and implement a pure democratic system with the input of the masses.

Senator Sana Jamali was of the view that there was no other solution than democracy for the country’s prevailing challenges as growing political intolerance, unemployment and economic crunch were scaling up at an alarming pace.

In his concluding remarks, HRCP Secretary General Harris Khalique said the country needed constitutional amendments and major reforms in key national institutions to ensure the inclusive strengthening of democracy in the country.

Earlier, CPDI Executive Director Mukhtar Ahmed Ali delivered his welcome note and moderated the panel discussion.

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