rule of law pakistan

Why is the Rule of Law vital for a country like Pakistan?

Rule of Law is enforcement of the laws drafted by representative government leaders to allow for everyone in the country (like Pakistan) to attain their fundamental right of life, liberty, economic opportunity, equality, justice, freedom to access public space and information, freedom to belong, freedom of faith, freedom to protest, security and education.

This is not an essay on Rule of Law in Pakistan, but an reminder of what we are missing.

Democracy has been proven to be the only successful model of government that has reasonable chance of providing for fundamental rights to its citizens, but that rests on the state of Rule of Law there.

Constitution of the country is the inviolable documents prepared by founding fathers of a particular group of people as a broad outline for later day politicians to enact practical laws that allow for the nation to function, while the fundamental rights are kept supreme.

After all nations are  nothing but the people that live in them, if fundamental rights hinge on the Rule of Law so critically, then the health of a nation can be judged by the Rule of Law there.

Pakistan’s constitution at a glance looks appropriate with the right sound bites and terms that talk of universal rights on

“Including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality

The Constitution of Pakistan has all the provisions that guarantee safety of life, liberty and economic opportunity but every clause has a suffix that says “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law”. This paralyses the strength of the Constitution to protect its citizenry.

For Example read the following quoted wording of Freedom of Expression Clause of Pakistan’s constitution

“Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan – Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission or incitement to an offence.”

 

Will someone tell me how can the weak, uneducated, poor people with a conscience claim their legitimate rights with these rider clauses of “subject to…?” if they can’t even express themselves freely?

This constitutional clause guarantees protection only to the already powerful class of politicians, Islamic Clerics, Military, Foreign countries, police, morality vigilantes, and courts — but not the common man.

It’s no wonder the weak in Pakistan have been suffering for 70 years, for some messiah to save them from this brutally oppressive system as they are, as per constitution to seek permission from the clergy, the military, the foreign office, the courts and the police before they can openly air their grievance against a brutally oppressive system.

The system is designed to fail the people and that is a huge shame.

Every leader in Pakistan takes over power as a sole representative of their own interest group that I mentioned above, with the weak and vulnerable, the ones that were supposed to be the real benefactors of a democratic dispensation, out of the loop, by design.

It is no coincidence that the two party system of government failed to develop in Pakistan, because both parties represent the elite, rich and powerful only. They draw their strength from the already powerful institution of Army, judiciary, police, business groups, clergy but not the vulnerable man on the streets. Unfortunately, the constitution protects this elite oligarchy. The poor rule of law is the consequence of that.

The same power groups fight  turf wars, with one group roping in the next based on expedient, self-serving interest, again leaving out the common man as an afterthought.

In such a situation, Rule of Law just becomes another tool of repression by these oppressive institutions.

These extractive institutions of the State of Pakistan will never go back into their own territory that the people define for them, unless all mention of judiciary, military, law and order, business and clergy is omitted from the Constitution document of Pakistan.

These exploitative groups laugh all the way to the bank, every month knowing fully well no one can challenge their dominance ever, in a rigged system.

The solution to civilize this country of Pakistan and allow for its hapless population some semblance of opportunity to improve their lot without cheating, stealing, servility, slavery and looting is, firstly, to remove all rider clause of ‘subject to…’ and in the second phase enforce the Rule of Law, across the board.

You cannot call Pakistan a country let alone a nation unless the downtrodden, of any class, color, race, gender, religion or creed can openly access information and lay it out for the world to see and shame the rascals in power to share some wealth and power with the poor.

It all starts with the constitution and the Rule of Law therein.

Another interesting post is Constitution of Medina is where Pakistan should be.

Let me translate my passage on Rule of Law in Pakistan in Urdu so that everyone can better understand its meaning.

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