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Opposition Unveils Charter of Reforms

by Staff Report

Screengrab of the united opposition’s press conference on the no-confidence motion

If no-confidence vote succeeds, reads charter, new government will ensure supremacy of Constitution and provincial autonomy

The joint opposition, including the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), on Wednesday unveiled a new charter, Quwwat-e-Akhuwat-e-Awam, outlining the reforms process they want to undertake if Prime Minister Imran Khan is ousted in a vote of no-confidence.

Claiming that the opposition’s representatives were the “guarantors” of social, political and economic rights of the people of Pakistan, the 25-point charter stresses that Khan’s ouster would lead to the creation of a Pakistan “where there is supremacy of the Constitution.”

Emphasizing that all institutions of the country should be subservient to Parliament, which should be the sole policymaking authority, the charter noted that elected representatives should only be answerable to the public, which has the right to either return them to legislatures or reject them through the use of their right to vote.

“Judiciary should be independent and the courts could give decisions without any fear or pressure. Similarly, media should also be free and the freedom of expression of the citizens must also be protected,” reads the charter. It says that, in view of the security challenges facing the country, all relevant institutions should be strengthened on professional lines, adding that terrorism should be eliminated through effective implementation of the National Security Policy.

The charter also calls for the introduction of an effective, transparent and just law for across-the-board accountability to tackle financial corruption, and vows to take “concrete” steps to ensure the recovery of all victims of enforced disappearances.

In contrast to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government’s criticisms of provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment, the opposition has vowed to strengthen provincial autonomy, and ensure transfer of power from provincial governments to local governments. It also claims that civic, human, social, gender and minority rights would be guaranteed and implementation of constitutional provisions to this effect would be ensured.

Pakistan’s opposition parties took special aim at the PTI’s “poor governance,” blaming it for the precarious economic situation of all segments of society, particularly the middle class and the downtrodden. “Today, the country’s youth are in despair as they confront record inflation and joblessness,” it said, adding that there was no respite in sight for their concerns. “And for that ‘selected’ government of PTI is responsible, which had snatched from other political parties the mandate people had given to them in the last general elections,” it claimed, adding that it was better for the PTI to be sent home before it bankrupted the country “completely.”

If the no-confidence vote succeeds, reads the charter, the opposition would frame a policy, on an urgent basis, to ensure relief for the impoverished, laborers, farmers and fixed-income groups. In this regard, it said, the standard of living of people would be removed; and work would be done to rid the country of its debt trap and remove social and economic disparity.

The charter also demands that the “successful” passage of the no-confidence motion should be followed with free and fair elections to ensure the real representatives of the people could take charge of the country’s affairs. “Today, on this historical day [March 23, Pakistan Day], all the opposition parties promise to the nation that they after sending the present government home will take steps on a war footing to rid the nation of inflation, poverty, unemployment, loans, illiteracy, diseases and other issues. And that steps will be taken to bring the country’s economy at par with the rest of world’s economies,” it added.

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