Tahir ul qadri has presented his electoral reform agenda which he wants to be in place before next general election. He wants the care taker government to implement this agenda and has given a deadline of three weeks to the present government (and political parties) to announce their intention to implement the agenda. In other words, Tahir ul qadri has taken the reform agenda as one time exercise which would set everything right later on. Let us analyze whether the proposed reform agenda can be implemented keeping within constitutional ambits, and even if the agenda is implemented as one time exercise whether it would be enough to put our political system running smoothly and addressing the peoples’ grievances and needs properly.
Tahir ul qadri has mentioned in his speech many a constitutional responsibilities assigned to state of Pakistan. All these responsibilities are supposed to be disposed of by the government which under the constitution has to be established through elections. But Tahir ul qadri is opposing elections without dispensing with first some of those responsibilities relating to electoral reforms. He wants care taker government to put in place such electoral reforms before holding general elections. These electoral reforms if implemented would eliminate all corrupt and immoral elements from the ranks of political parties. As a result, political parties would be left with no eligible and required number of candidates to contest the next general elections which are to be held after a short period of six months. The result would be that political parties would reject implementation of proposed electoral reforms before the general elections. Consequently, political power would slip into hands of non-political elements and violation of the constitution would be a must. In other words, Tahir ul qadri’s stated intentions to implement the reformed agenda keeping within the constitutional ambits are non-practicable.
Secondly, even if the stated electoral reform agenda is implemented, it would not be enough to establish an Islamic political system in Pakistan, if the intention behind these electoral reforms is to install an Islamic political system in Pakistan. These electoral reforms may ensure that honest persons would become members of the parliament, but it would not ensure that such members would be capable to install an Islamic political system in Pakistan. In fact, Islamic political system is not one time dispensation; it provides for a regular/continuous apparatus to deal with day to day governance issues according to Islamic injunctions. Tahir ul qadri’s electoral reform agenda is a one-time dispensation which cannot provide for such a capable apparatus/parliament to lead Pakistan towards the goal of an Islamic welfare state. Any parliament constituted on the basis of peoples’ majority votes is bound to be marred with so many deficiencies in terms of virtue, expertise, experience required to install an Islamic state. There has to be an institution parallel to the parliament, which should be able to make good and compensate for the deficiencies found in the parliament and which should be capable of running state matters according to Islamic injunctions. Such parallel institution (may be called ‘shura’) should be empowered to oversee the working of the parliament and ratify all the decisions taken by the parliament; shura may reject parliament’s decision only on the basis of Islamic injunctions. In this way state decision-making would be, on the one hand, reflective of public opinion, and, on the other hand, in accordance with Islamic injunctions (plz see for details my article “ Islamic Political System- its main contuours (3).
In other words, an Islamic political system in Pakistan may not be installed without making vital amendments in the present constitution.
Now the question arises what course of action we may adopt to have a good governance and fair political system based on Islamic injunctions. For that purpose, the coming general elections may be allowed to be held according to the schedule and present system so that any possible anarchy and illegal rule may be avoided. But political parties may be bound to establish Islamic political system in Pakistan. For that purpose, political parties may be given enough time to re-organize their ranks so that they may be able to contest future elections along with qualified candidates in terms of Islam; they may also be bound to establish ‘shura’ as a parallel institution to the parliament later on. All these arrangements may be put in place before the second coming general elections.In any case, if qadri's march becomes a reality all islamic forces should participate in qadri's march to have due share in the coming care taker set up so that concerted efforts may be made through care taker set up to install islamic system later on. In this way effective measures may also be taken by islamic forces to keep army away from taking over the state, even if qadri turns out to be helping the army to take over the government. Now, military's rule will be proved to be fatal not only for Pakistan but also for military itself. In future, only positive role for military in Pakistan is to act as a pressure group to safeguard Pakistan's ideological boundaries, and to defend militarily Pakistan's geographical boundaries. Islamic forces' participation in the Long March would enable them to foil Qadri's negative intentions, if any.