The way constitutional amendments are passed in Pakistan makes you marvel at the degree of national unity we enjoy.
You would probably never see such unity among any nation in the world.
Despite speaking passionately against the ruling, not a single MP or Senator dared casting a vote against the constitution. Some even voted against their conscience.
It’s good to know that some politicians in this country take up the constitution seriously enough to consider it a matter of guilty conscience.
But the question remains. Why was not a single vote cast in the opposition of the passage of the constitutional amendment?
Why did the JI and the JUI-F boycott the voting session instead of casting a more effective nay? Did they not betray their loyal voters?
There is no doubt about the fact that the 21st constitutional amendment is a resounding insult to the judicial branch of government in Pakistan. A legally sanctioned statement making fun of its perceived inability to dispense the elusive commodity known as justice. No one is bothered.
Despite the gravity of the situation, let’s concentrate on the silver lining in this dark thunderstorm. Maybe, the government has finally made up its mind to eradicate terrorism from the country, despite all the cynical skepticism.
What if the military courts really would deliver the kind of “swift justice” that the people of this country have been waiting for? Hopefully, not the kind of swift justice that the Taliban are known for.
But why have a trial in the first place?
Or maybe there is hope because Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman believes that the bill for the constitutional amendment reflects secular thinking for linking religion with terrorism. Finally, our parliament ended up doing something secular. Though he is unaware that even many secularists are worried about that too.
Perhaps, the way constitution can be altered in Pakistan offers some distant hope for the secularists. Who knows, some day, some compromising situation would bring all the politicians together and make them all unanimously vote to remove the Islamic provisions from the constitution.
All we need is stirring a little sense of urgency for that.
Now that the constitution has been altered pretty drastically, you can only wonder what happened.
What changed so drastically after the Peshawar massacre that it required bringing about such drastic changes to the way the state worked?
How did the terrorists manage to change the way our government works? A lot of people are perplexed about the way the government, all the political parties and the military have reacted.
To others, disappointed that the civil courts keep on releasing or delaying indicting suspect terrorists, the sudden change came as a sigh of relief. This might deliver some justice, finally.
Yet harsher critics merely saw the recent government legislation using the Peshawar school attack as an excuse for imposing undemocratic constitutional measures.
Let’s just blame their destruction of the constitution on their post-traumatic stress symptoms, instead of deliberate intent to sabotage.
But let’s not take the overzealousness of our administrators for malice.
Let us judge actions instead of the intentions.
Though for some, that would make the case even worse.
The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.
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