26 February, 2021

The Blind Leap Of Faith

Small provinces and minorities fear that the amendment virtually arms the federal government to replace the Constitution with its fiat.

The Blind Leap Of Faith

BELIEF, like patriotism, being the last refuge of hard-pressed political adventurers, the clearest message given out by the authors of Pakistan's Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Bill is the government is in dire straits. The extent to which it has resolved to exploit the majority population's belief has no precedent even in Pakistan's history. What the proposed amendment seeks is the replacement of the Constitution with the will of the federal government, that is, with the word of the prime minister. All previous attempts at invoking religion to save political structures under threat had envisaged absolutism of a lower order.

The process began in 1949 when Liaquat Ali Khan brought forth the Objectives Resolution. He was under pressure from two sides. The provinces, especially Bengal, had started demanding their rights and the religious groups had woken up to the new state's vulnerability to the politics of religiosity. Instead of trying to accommodate the provinces within a fair federal system, Liaquat chose to appease the religious...

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