The civil-military divide is a subject of continuous discussion. Democracy doesn’t seem to take root as politicians seek unaccountable power and fail to develop any respect for institutions. Debate in the media and our academia is limited to wishing for both the army and politicians to behave.
Few look at the constitution that is supposed to frame democracy. Pakistan’s constitution was hurriedly framed using the Government of India Act of 1935 with little regard for constitutional principles and local context. It seems that without amending this constitution to develop adequate checks and balances, better election system for improved representation, more detail on institutions and how they are run, as well as a well-defined local government system, democracy and good government will elude us.
Here we take this important subject up with Bakhtawar Soofi a young lawyer who writes in papers and has freshly studied this subject.
The constitution is too important a subject to be left to lawyers alone has been emphasized by several major economic thinkers. The constitution provides the backdrop to economic activity. And many economists such as Hayek, Buchanan and Mueller have written about it.
The constitution is a subject on which many disciplines should be brought to bear. So, we invite all of you to devote some attention to debating and researching the constitution.
The current debate that excludes the constitution is barren. We need to move towards understanding the constitutions and incentives it sets for politicians, institutions and the players in the economy.