Presidential or Parliamentary System for Pakistan

By Sadia Nawaz Khan

Majority of the developed states are ruling their states with the Presidential form of government. The prime example is United States of America, Russia, China, France etc. The parliamentary system is mostly used in third world countries. The Presidential system or parliamentarian system are ways to run the democratic system. Specifically discussing the form of government and system to run that government in Pakistan, it is the parliamentary system. The advantages of the Parliamentary system is that legislation can be done easily as the parliament have the mandate of people to pass it. Whereas In a presidential system, the executive is often chosen independently from the legislature.

In a parliamentary system, with a collegial executive, power is more divided. It can also be argued that power is more evenly spread out in the power structure of parliamentarianism In case of Pakistan there is parliamentarian system whereas the system belongs to two houses, the upper house and lower house known as the senate and national assembly respectively.

Analyzing the post-Musharaf era, the parliamentary system has been endorsed in the political club of Pakistan. In the last years of Pakistan People’s Party, the then President Asif Ali Zardari dissolve the extra presidential powers which were embedded in the article 90 and article 52B of the constitution of 1973. Now in the current government of PML (N), the position of president is just a cog in the wheel. The whole 18th amendment took the power from the president to dissolve the assemblies, unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic. The whole amendment was done to restore the political stability in Pakistan. Whenever there is a structural change it comes with positive and negative outputs. The only ease after dissolving powers of the president of Pakistan was devolution of power in both upper and lower houses. Another dilemma which is being faced by the 18th amendment was the sharing of power between both houses. Hypothetically if a bill passed in the national assembly and got rejected in the Senate, it again bypasses the authority of Senate as National assembly have more representatives than the Senate. Logically it is absurd, upper house (Senate) means that it has more power than National Assembly (lower house) but in practice, National Assembly enjoys more powers than the Senate.

A recent example is of the Ex-Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif as he was disqualified for being the Prime Minister but National Assembly paves the way for him to be selected as party president. National Assembly passed the Elections Bill 2017 which gave another chance to Nawaz Sharif for being re-elected as chairman of his own party, which was endorsed by President Mamnoon Hussain.

Such amendments actually shredded the fundamental fabric of the constitution of Pakistan although the whole fiasco ended up when Judiciary jumped in. Analyzing the positive aspects of devolution of power and parliamentarian system, the power is now bifurcated in both houses which somehow equally represent the people of Pakistan.

Analyzing both systems, the Presidential system is far better than for Pakistan rather than the parliamentarian system. In the parliamentarian system, the representation of whole Pakistan is somehow couldn’t be represented. In the parliamentarian system, there is a concept that who so ever province will be having more population will form the government. Making it simple, in context of Pakistan whoever will win from Punjab will form his government. PML (N) is the prime example of it. Whereas the National Finance Commission Award is another blessing with disguise. In political structure of Pakistan, it’s the debate that initiated right after the crafting of NFC Award in 1974. Some argue that NFC award should be divided by the population, whereas some reiterated that NFC award should be dealt on the basis of resources and some contend this view and demands that NFC award should be divided on revenue generation. For instance Karachi is generating 80% of revenue hence major chunk of the budget should be invested in Karachi. These are the predicaments of the parliamentarian system in Pakistan.

In a holistic view, the federation always runs on three vital elements, Confidence, Representation and trust. Trust is for ensuring the political parties that they are eligible to run the state, representation is to fulfil the demands of people that they are represented and confidence is in the institutions so they can sustain the system.

Whereas all these things are present in the Presenditial system. Although major reforms are required for the Presidential system in Pakistan. Presidents should be the sole man with supreme authority and he should be sharing the power with Senate only. Whereas the Senate representatives should be selected by the General Elections. Every state should be having an equal number of seats so the representation should be on an equality. When all the senators would have been selected then there should be a general election through which President should be selected for the nation of Pakistan. This equal representation will sort out the issue of NFC and would have sustained all those separatists’ movements who are turning the nation into faltering and fumbling disposition. Moreover, when there would be equality in the provinces, Punajbis would not be considered a threat to Pashtoons, there will be no rift between Pashtoons and Balochis and Urdu speaking people would not be called and cornered as “Migrants” of Pakistan. The ethnic political culture is devastating for Pakistan whereas it was planted in Pakistan since its inception. These reforms should be followed in order to make Pakistan more progressive and sustained.