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Published Date: Feb 11, 2013

SDPI Press Release (February 11, 2013)

The
Pakistani political system lack some basic pre-conditions to democracy such as
democratization of political parties, integrity, service delivery,
accountability and strict adherence to rule of law. Without introducing radical
reforms and pre-conditions to democracy, the current inept and corrupt system
is unable produce any tangible change and would further destabilize the
society.

This was
the crux of a special lecture by
Naseem Bajwa, a barrister and Editor of “The
Voice”, Journal UK, and is currently on a visit to Pakistan. The lecture titled
Democracy:
The Socio- Political and Cultural Pre-Conditions
” was organized by
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Asif Saeed
Memon of SDPI moderated the proceedings.

In
his lecture, Barrister Naseem Bajwa briefed participants on essentials of
strengthening democratic system and also compared it with the western
models.  He proposed various suggestions in reforming the current system.
However, he showed apprehension over the will of political elite in introducing
reforms and said, “the change would come from social movements geared by sheer
weight of people as happened in the case of Egypt and Tunis or for that part in
restoration of Chief Justice in Pakistan.”

He said
the parties must exhibit firm commitment to genuine democracy rooted in the
will of people. He suggested some basic reforms in political parties and said
there must be a law eliminating the hereditary succession of party leadership.
He called upon political parties to conduct intra-party elections, adhere to
party manifestos and maintain ethical standards and integrity.   He
suggested general elections after every four years so that a political culture
must be in the country.

Bajwa was
of the view that Pakistanis are temperamentally a “Presidential” nation and
proposed Presidential form of governance, suitable tailored to our needs. He
also called for restructuring the federal system by removing inequalities,
increasing the number of provinces and considering the districts as basic unit
of governance.  “Decentralization of government to elected District,
Tehsil and Community councils would increase accessibility and accountability
at the grass root level which is the norm in other democratic societies,” he
added.

While
underlying the need to end Army’s role in politics and he suggested strict
adherence to constitutional and professionalism role of armed services in the
country. At the same time, he also deplored political interference in
government instituions and called for depoliticization of judiciary,
bureaucracy, police as well as armed forces. He also, demanded an independent
and impartial Election Commission, free of political influence and
encumbrances.

Towards
the end, he anchored his hopes on a vigilant higher judiciary, a relatively
free media that needs to act responsibly and the emerging educated middle class
that may strengthen the system by increasing their participation in democratic
process.