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No presidential system in Pakistan: LHC dismisses petition

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News Analysis |

A bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a court order for presidential system of government in the country. According to details, a single bench of the high court comprised of Justice Ameenuddin Khan while hearing the petition declared the plea as non-maintainable. The petitioner had made President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan as party in the case.

Petitioner pleaded that the enforcement of presidential system of government is in the best interest of the country. The petition claimed that Pakistan has always made progress in the presidential system and pleaded to the court for an order to conduct a referendum for replacement of existing parliamentary system in the country with the presidential system.

Pakistan’s system of government has swung between the parliamentary and presidential systems since the independence of the country. Both the systems have their die-hard supporters and opponents. It is, however, a historical fact that during military governments the country was ruled under a presidential system. Politicians, generally back a parliamentary democracy system, whenever a civilian government set in the country.

Read more: Rumors of presidential system are baseless: Fawad

Government vs. Opposition

In recent days, the opposition parties in the country have explicitly alleged the incumbent government is moving towards presidential system, which, the leaders argue, is not suitable for a country like Pakistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman recently said he believes the presidential system will be better for the country. “As per my culture and with amendment, I think presidential system will be better here and more efficient, corruption will be reduced, there will be no blackmailing, federating units will be protected and [there will be] equal opportunities for all,” he said. For the parliamentary system, you have to make a lot of compromises for the majority you have to keep and it has negative aspects, KPK governor added.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on last Friday warned against any attempt to bring presidential form of government in the country, saying it would not be in the interest of democracy by any means. He said there was no ‘third umpire’ — only people — in a democracy.

Bilawal again said that his party will not change their position on the 18th amendment and presidential system including the military courts. “We will not change our stances on the presidential system, 18th Amendment, military courts, democracy or media censorship and will not be afraid of going to jails. We will not be pressurized to change our stance. You can put all the PPP in jail but we will not change our stance,” he said while addressing a press conference here on Monday at the Bilawal House.

Read more: PPP’s apprehensions over the 18th Amendment: Propaganda or struggle for provincial autonomy

Political commentators believe that the government is not going to repeal the 18th amendment and wrap up the parliamentary system since it does not enjoy required number of seats in the parliament. However, opposition is beating the drums to seek public attention and present it as ‘pro-democracy’ forces in the country.

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