Presidential system.

Byline: Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi - Lahore

APROPOS the letter (April 22) regarding the merits or otherwise of the presidential system. I agree with the writer that the 1973 Constitution is no sacrosanct document, and that since it had already undergone many amendments, another amendment need not necessarily change its basic framework. However, this view requires one important caveat.

Any attempt to amend this constitution in t he present highly-fractured politics may not receive a two-thirds majority in the two houses of parliament, the sine qua non of amending the Constitution. Any tinkering with it at present may create an unintended crisis.

There is a need to strengthen grass root governance to effectively identify and solve local problems. I disagree when the writer says that the 18th Amendment has led to 'polarisation and divisiveness' and that it had made the federation bankrupt. Hidden in this argument is a tacit support for the presidential system.

In Pakistan's political arena, the provinces with their diversity in a number of dimensions are a reality that cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, in the past attempts to implement the presidential system had led to a highly centralised system of governance and that was held responsible for deepening the divisiveness and alienating people in different provinces. The resulting consequences hardly need any elaboration.

Therefore, we cannot afford this...

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