Published Date: Sep 10, 2018
Constitutional literacy, strengthening of political system vital for parliament-society nexus: Speakers
Lack of awareness among the public at large on the importance and functions of parliament is creating a gap between parliament and society. To bridge this widening gap, the public must study and learn the constitution, which is a social contract between a state and a citizen. This, in turn, would help the citizen to know about their basic rights and revive their confidence in the parliament which is the custodian of their basic human rights.
Speakers said this while addressing a seminar titled ‘Parliament Society Nexus’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
A senior leaders of Awami National Party’s (ANP) and a former senator, Afrasiab Khattak said that Pakistan’s parliament is the case of retarded development, as there was continues disruption of democracy in the past. He said that today’s parliament is much weaker than ever before mainly because of growing disconnect between parliament and civil society. He said that there is a need to develop a democratic culture of tolerance, where everyone can openly debate on issues of public concerns. He urged the public to study the constitution to bridge the gap between state and society. He said that we should all strive for rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.
Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director of SDPI said that there is rise in polarization in our society; and building consensus among all segments of society has become a major challenge. He said that the parliament should uphold human values and build consensus on issues of societal conflicts. He said that there are renewed expectations among general public and the incumbent government led by PTI must engage with all stakeholders. He urged the government to revive student unions, which would help further strengthen the parliament society relationship.
Romina Khurshid Alam, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) MNA said that there is big communication gap between society and parliament; especially our youth is not very well connected and are not aware of the significance of the parliament. She said there is a need to strengthen the relationship between civil society and parliament, as civil society can be instrumental for pro-people legislations. She said that parliament is the only supreme institution which could resolve our all societal issues.
Renowned poet and civil society leader, Harris Khalique said that currently parliament is very weak and it is very challenging for the parliament to meet the expectations of the society. He said that it is unfortunate that the perception of civil society is generally confined to few Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) at national and international level, which is not true. Civil society includes people from all walks of life. He said that the parliament and society cannot be separated. However, first the parliament needs to strengthen itself through legislations and functioning of parliamentary committees which will help restore confidence among the general public. Then strive collectively to end differences in our society, he added.