Roundtable – Constitutional Evolution of Pakistan: Projecting Beyond Horizon - 27 July 2019

Constitutional Evolution of Pakistan: Projecting Beyond Horizon

27 July: The Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSD) organized a Roundtable Discussion on “Constitutional Evolution of Pakistan: Projecting Beyond Horizon” at Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education (DIHE), Karachi. Constitutional and legal experts from academia, judiciary and media deliberated on different dimensions of the subject. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar, Rector DIHE presented the opening address and welcomed the participants of the roundtable. He said that the constitution of any country defines the rights and obligations of citizens, and plays a crucial role by laying down the procedures of governance, executive and legislation. Therefore, this academic discourse is of the utmost importance amidst ongoing debates on constitutional provisions and their impact on society.

Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Dean Faculty of Law and Former Chief Justice Sindh High Court traced out the evolution of the 1973 constitution and said that the constitution provides complete guidelines for state functions. He further emphasized on need of implementation the constitutional provisions for making the deliverance more viable and more effective. Justice Osmany further said 18th amendment presents an important phase of evolutionary phase of 1973 constitution. He was of the view that without developing a Provincial Legislative List the eighteenth amendment would remain a “half-baked recipe” only.

Speakers from diverse background shared their thoughts on different topics related to the subject. Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan Barrister Hamid Khan, civil society activist and renowned Human Rights Lawyer Mr Jibran Nasir, Advocate Lahore High Court Mr. Asad Jamal, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to UAE Amdassador Jamil Ahmed Khan, Former Chairman National Reconstruction Bureau Lt. Gen Tanwir Hussain Naqvi (Retd), Vice Chancellor Quaid-e-Azam University Dr Muhammad Ali, Constitutional Analyst and Journalist Babar Sattar, and HoD Department of Law DIHE Dr Rana Khan were among the speakers.

Mr Asad Jamal, while presenting appraisal of amendments in the 1973 constitution of Pakistan, said that the constitution of Pakistan has underdone various amendments. Mr Jamal maintained that even though the 18th Amendment is the best thing to have happened to the Constitution, yet it has many flaws. Lt Gen Tanweer Naqvi while commenting on role of local government system maintained that the powerless local government structures will not be able to serve the purpose of urbanization which will ruralize the existing urbanized centers. Speakers highlighted that constitutional amendments like 18th amendment yield substantial impact on the economy of Pakistan and 7th NFC award is the testimony of this argument. Jibran Nasir while speaking about local government and provision of human rights said that the concept of local government in Pakistan is very limited which does not caters the basic rights like education, health, and other public services. He further said with this concept provision of human rights cannot be achieved in true sense. Barister Hamid Khan said that it is very important to address two fundamental issues of judicial system which include appointment and removal of judges.

During the roundtable discussion issues of resource sharing, local government structure, good governance, and fundamental rights like education and healthcare were also discussed in the context of the present form of 1973 constitution. It was highlighted by panelists that there is dire need of in-depth analysis of repercussions of past and planned amendments in the constitution. Mr. Abdullah Dadabhoy, Chairman CPSD presented vote of thanks and expressed his gratitude to worthy speakers and participants for their intellectual contributions in the discourse.

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