Article 203 should be through referendum

Nawaz Sharif after getting support from PTI-L and PPP to get Election Bill 2017 passed for his return as head of PML N is acting as if the whole nation approved of this act. The reality is that majority of the people consider it a ploy of the status quo elite to retain control of politics in their hands for the benefit of themselves and their families. The sympathy Nawaz Sharif got after Panama verdict of Supreme Court eroded substantially after this ill-advised move. Nawaz Sharif could have pushed PML N executive council to nominate him as the founding Quaid of his party with certain privileges to veto decisions of party officials without retaining executive control in his hand. But then it is unrealistic to assume a petty politician to become a statesman.  

I do not support petitions filed by certain political parties to ask Supreme Court to overthrow article 203 of Election Bill 2017. Supreme Court does have the mandate to define constitutionality of an article but this article has been in place earlier so it has a history of being in force without being challenged. Another problem is that political questions should be resolved through political rather than legalistic means. Powers of parliament and elected government are already eroded to a great extent and undermining it further is not advisable. A better approach would be to seek approval of article 203 of Election Bill 2017 through a referendum. I will send some suggestions to all parties about it through a private message. 

Nawaz Sharif in his Lahore speech once again proposed a grand dialogue. We have already rejected that offer but instead proposed a limited dialogue should be held. There is a substantial difference between the two. Nawaz Sharif can only legitimately participate in the dialogue once he demonstrates that majority of the nation supports his elevation to being head of a party using article 203 of Election Bill 2017 through a referendum.

By Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

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