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ISLAMABAD: The Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday said 10th April 1973 is a shining and historic moment in our national history as on this day, our national leadership, unanimously, gave a consensus constitution to the country.

Speaking at a two-day International Parliamentary Convention in connection with the Golden Jubilee of the Constitution of Pakistan, he said that 10th April 1973 is the brightest, shining and historic moment in our national history after 14th August 1947 as on this day, our national leadership unanimously gave a consensus constitution to the country.

Delegates from Belgium, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, the United Kingdom, Scotland, and the United States of America participated in the ceremony. Parliamentarians, leaders of political parties, Jurists, Members of the legal fraternity, comrades of the civil society, women activists, non-Muslims community leaders, academia, media persons, youth and students also attended the ceremony.

The speaker paid homage to the framers of the constitution saying that they rose above all interests and gave the nation a united identity as free and equal citizens of an Islamic democratic federal state.

He said that his Secretariat has rediscovered the entire record of the proceedings of the 26-member Constitution Drafting Committee, which remained missing from the public eye for 50 years.

The speaker ordered that this record be de-classified and printed to shape a book and made available to all citizens of Pakistan for research and public knowledge.

Alluding to the struggle of political forces and other segments of society for the restoration of democracy and revival of the 1973 Constitution, the speaker said it was the result of united efforts that purged the Constitution from the infringements of dictators.

He pointed out that the 18th Amendment in 2010 not only restored the Constitution to its previous glory but further improved to fulfill the promise of complete provincial autonomy as envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and as promised in the 1973 Constitution.

Ashraf said that the parliament is the nucleus of power. It is the author of the Constitution and is the sole legislative organ.

He said the people's will stem from here and all institutions must be answerable to this sovereign and supreme body of the people.

He said this is the crux of our constitution and this is the only way to an all-inclusive mutually respecting, diverse, and dialogue-based Pakistan.

The speaker emphasized the need for full adherence to the constitution in order to make Pakistan the ideal Islamic Federal Parliamentary Democracy.

Participating in a plenary on “Constitutions in the Changing World-Balancing Stability and Adaptability,” Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the spread of emerging digital technologies pose broader challenges to fundamental rights, which must be addressed in order to maintain the quality of our democracy.

He said the dark end of the digital spectrum threatens not just privacy and safety but undermines free and fair elections, jeopardizes freedom of expression, an information and buries the truth under fake news.

He emphasised the need to develop proactive and holistic policies that ensure the technology is used to increase both freedom and security. Farooq H Naekof Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said constitutional democracies must work together to deal with the challenges of climate change, terrorism and migration.

He said democratic institutions must remain responsive to the needs of the people, promote transparency and strengthen the rule of law in order to meet the modern-day challenges.

PPP’s Farhatullah Babar regretted that the same parliament had agreed once to set up of military courts, albeit with a sunset clause.

Deputy Speaker of Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan Adil Abish Oglu Aliyev called for collective efforts towards the protection of rights and freedoms.

He said there is also a dire need to improve social media-related laws. In this regard, he said we can learn from each other’s experiences.

PPP leader Nafisa Shah said the 18th amendment is a milestone in the constitutional history of Pakistan as powers were devolved to the provinces. She emphasised a strong local government system to improve service delivery.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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