Background: A secretive campaign for introducing the presidential form of government in the country reached the Supreme Court through a petition filed on 28 August,2020
What this petition states: Petition states that Prime Minister Imran Khan should hold a nation-wide referendum and pave the way for introducing the presidential system to replace the existing parliamentary one.
Who filed the petition: Two individuals have filed this petition.Tahir Aziz Khan, chairman of a less-known and recently formed, Hum Awam Pakistan party and a Islamabad citizen, Dr. Sadiq Ali. They invoked Article 184(3) of the Constitution that deals with the apex court’s authority to enforce fundamental rights of the citizens.
Reason: According to the petition, the present parliamentary form of the government has failed to protect the fundamental rights of the people provided under Chapter 1 of Part II of the Constitution. It also added that politicisation of the administration, non-professionalism, nepotism and corruption prevails only because there’s no proper system for the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature.
What SC did: On 3rd September, The Supreme Court Registrar’s Office returned the petition. The Registrar Office in its objections stated that the petitioners had not previously approached the relevant forum. The certificates attached to the applications were not in accordance with the law.
What does that imply: In simplest way this petition implies that there should be more accumulation of power in the hand of one person i.e. Prime Minister Imran Khan. Most of democratic countries avoid this form of government because it removes checks on power holders. Thus it weakens the accountability and transparency of the system.
Is it wrong: There’s no safe answer for it. We have witnessed many countries growing into an authoritarian regime under the presidential system. Even in petition the countries referred as examples were, 1792-French Republic ,1979-Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini and contemporary system of Turkey under Tayyip Erdogan. There are certain things about this petition which make it unusual;