Constitution the only way out of quagmire: Abbasi

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. -APP/file

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday emphasised the need for following the Constitutions by all in a bid to take the country out of the quagmire.

Speaking at a seminar entitled ‘Reimagining Pakistan’ at the Habib University here, the former prime minister said the way the country was being run will do no good and stressed dialogue to get the country out of the current situation. Fawad Hasan Fawad, aide to former PM Nawaz Sharif; PPP former leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and other economists were present at the seminar.

Ismail, Abbasi, Khokhar and former Balochistan chief minister Aslam Raisani are part of a group of political mavericks holding a series of nationwide seminars on the current challenges being faced by the country.

The events are aimed at developing consensus on the future course of action required to be taken by all stakeholders to bring Pakistan out of the ongoing crisis.

Abbasi said, “The solution to the country’s problems lies in the Constitution. There is no alternative. If we don’t run this country as per the Constitution, then this state will not survive.”

“The military chief suggests politicians to change parties while the inelegance head tells them you can’t win elections. We are responsible for destroying ourselves so that we can’t send competent people to parliament or stop them,” Abbasi said.

“If we don’t want competent people in the parliament, then how Pakistan would run. This is very basics. Today, we have to discuss and decide the future of this country. We all talk about corruption. We have set up the largest organization against corruption. Pakistan is the only where a dictator had established an organization only with a motive to make politicians accountable. However, if someone checks the record of the organization that how many politicians were made accountable, he would find ‘zero’.

He said only one person was made accountable and all the country witnessed the accountability. It means that they could find any other person for making him accountable during the last 24 years.

“In the present system of the country, of which I have been part for the last 35 years, if not convicted person, I feel myself an accused”.

“We all, including the judiciary, military, parliament, and media, are responsible for bringing the country to this stage. We can’t distance ourselves from this mess. This year we celebrated the golden jubilee of our Constitution but there is no section and article left in the Constitution which we didn’t violate in the past. We have a detailed Constitution and everything is very well defined. The limits of everyone is defined but the problem is that we don’t regard the Constitution.”

“We failed to do legislation for public facilitation. In my 35-year political career, I have not observed that parliamentarians have made any legislation for public facilitation. What and how decisions are being made in the cabinet, everyone knows.”

Abbasi said that there was a need to resolve the problems and make massive reforms.

He said the country’s economy remained connected with politics and believed that corruption was the biggest of all the problems the country was facing, local media reports.

Urging politicians to stop leveling allegations against each other, Abbasi said by refraining from doing politics based on hatred, the country could lead to prosperity.

Speaking on the occasion, Miftah Ismail said Pakistan desperately needed gender inclusivity in order to develop.

“If we ignore fifty percent of our population, our sisters, and won’t let them be part of the development, then we will never progress,” he said. The above-mentioned point was one of the “10 pillars” the former finance minister shared to develop Pakistan.

“One nation” was the first pillar suggested by Miftah. He stressed the need for building a coalition for growth in which the elite people would be contributing to the economy by supporting the low-class people. He called for “increasing the pie” to provide growth opportunities to the people.

Miftah called for controlling population, wondering whether the country was well equipped to provide basic health, education and food facilities to 5.5 million children born every year.

“It was high time to have family planning in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the rising population was affecting the country’s development.

Education was the next matter, which according to Miftah was a must to come on a par with the world.

“We have to focus on education,” he said.

Miftah was of view that the amount of money spent on children’s education — Rs30,000 to Rs50,000 — should be given to the families, as the country was not able to cater for the educational needs of the children.

Moreover, he said women must be included in the spheres of development. It was a must to have gender-inclusive growth, he added.

Miftah, who stepped down as finance minister last year to pave the way for Ishaq Dar, said that the country should have better agriculture mechanisms in order to feed the rising population.

He said the sector was important for the country’s exports.

According to the former finance minister, increasing exports, improving law and order situation, industrial protection rule, energy, currency’s value were needed to look upon.

“You will continue to go to IMF if tax to GDP is not 15% and exports to GDP are not 15%. The government should live within its means, strengthen local government, privatisation, and institutions should do their own work. The establishment should lower their indulgence in politics, which help it become mature,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said those earning 15,000 to 30,000 monthly were scrapping a living.

“People have been forced to leave the country. Recently, a woman hockey player, Shahida Raza, was among the 64 people who drowned in a boat capsize off the coast of Italy because she was unable to feed her family. She had a three-old handicap child but put his life at risk in search for better opportunities. This is not only Shahida’s story but now this is becoming a story of every family living in Pakistan. However, the rulers don’t care. They are busy in who is thief and who is not,” said Khokhar.

He said even Saudi Arabia was not allowing marriage under the age of 18 but the religious class in Pakistan was not ready to accept this reality.

“We are not ready to talk about domestic violence. We have to talk about the issues related to our society. We know how to resolve our problems but the issue is that are we ready to resolve the issued being faced by the society. Whenever financial crisis emerged anywhere in the world, a lot of thing changed. We will have to bear the consequences of the current financial crisis.”

“We are not Sri Lanka. We have defaulted. Armed outfits and ethnic groups can pose a serious threat to the state. No one can point out a country with economic stability where political chaos exists. During the last ten years, the establishment has brought this country to this stage. We are a country of 230 million and we have to resolve the problems. It is our collective responsibility to bring the country on right track.”

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