4th International Conference on "1973 Constitution: Status and Role of Institutions"

  • -
  • 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Department of History, UoP

Pakistan has a chequered constitutional and political history. Right from the outset in 1947 it had to undergo serious challenges regarding the framing of a constitution and deciding on a form of government. Due to such delays, democratic institutions and leadership largely failed to infuse the much-needed confidence and trust among the masses. After long deliberations a consensus constitution was only promulgated in 1973 but the journey to the rule of law and smooth functioning (and thereby implementation) of the constitution proved to be very long. Too often has the constitution been regarded as dead letters ever since, too often have institutional clashes hindered further development. The social contract was disregarded many times, and hence failed to instil harmonious growth and development. It is here that we find important questions for the scholarly probe into the matter. What is the status and role of different institutions in the constitution? What are the ground realities? Are there inconsistencies and paradoxes? If so, how could they be addressed and reformed?

The 70-year journey of Pakistan is strewn with struggle for supremacy among its institutions. Although it is an established and normal practice for political parties to contest and struggle for political power and authority through a democratic and electoral process, a similar struggle for power and influence between state institutions is neither desirable nor productive. On the contrary, it leads to friction and conflict between institutions and the breakdown of the constitutional machinery and democratic process. The constitution should serve as an instrument of creating and ensuring balance amongst institutions. In Pakistan, the constitution was compromised many-a-times due to the power-struggle between institutions. Instead of serving as an instrument for political stability and national integration, it was misinterpreted and compromised in a manner that pitched the institutions against each other in a perpetual struggle for power and dominance. This unfortunate state of affairs resulted in an unholy outcome of institutions pitted against each other, a dismal balance of powers, leadership issues, and repeated disagreements between civilian and military leadership, which has contributed to substantial constitutional weaknesses. The often-cited “foreign hand” may also have had a certain role in aggravating indigenous developments.

Things are so complex and events are unfolding so briskly that what starts in the name of patriotism often drifts away from major national concerns to petty institutional or even individual agendas. The subservient or personalized usage of institutions by individuals; be those politicians, men in uniform, judiciary or bureaucracy happens to be one great impediment in the way of smooth progress of national cohesion and stability of the democratic political setup.

The Department of History, University of Peshawar, in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany), Pakistan Office, is organising its 4th International Conference aimed at initiating an academic debate on different aspects of limits and role of institutions in the nation building. Besides Executive, Judiciary and Legislature, the role of the Army and Media would also be analysed and debated. Effective, practical and helpful checks over the performance of institutions would also be explored. The idea is to look into the past and present performance of these institutions and to formulate suggestions for a smooth working relationship between institutions within their existing constitutional limits or through some new constitutional arrangements, whilst not disturbing the basic skeleton of the constitution. The conference invites papers on, but not limited to the following sub-themes:

  • Role and Status of the National Assembly: Mandate and Responsibility
  • Role and Status of Provincial Assemblies in the Post 18th Amendment Paradigm
  • Role and Status of the Senate: How to Strengthen the House of the Federation?
  • Role of the Council of Common Interests as the Primary Dispute Resolution and Inter-Provincial Coordination Body
  • Role of Judiciary: Interpretation of the Constitution, Arbitration, and Judicial Review
  • Responsible and Responsive Media: Prioritisation of Interests and Upholding Integrity
  • Role of Bureaucracy and its Relationship with the Parliament: How to Effectuate Devolved Governance and Long Term Strategic Planning?
  • Rebuilding the Social Contract: a New Narrative needed, especially for the Youth
  • Role of Academia: How to Objectively Study History and Gain Crucial Lessons; How to provide Meaningful Input to All Institutions?
  • Role of Civil Society
  • Role of Election Commission: How can it Reform and Strengthen the Process of Elections?
  • Role of Political Parties: Inclusion of all Segments of Society and Intra-Party Democracy
  • Role of Military: Nexus of Economy and Security; “Ideological Protection of the State” – How can this be Accomplished in Cooperation with other Institutions? In Post Conflict Scenarios, how can Cooperation with Civilian Authorities be Better Effectuated?

We request abstracts of no more than 300 words from academicians and practitioners on either of the topics listed above, along with a short biography, to be submitted to the conference organizing committee by 23rd July, 2018. Abstracts should include a title, research question, information about potential methodological and theoretical frameworks, and a summary of the main argument. After being reviewed by the conference organizing committee, the selected paper presenters will be contacted by 6th August, 2018. The final date for the submission of complete papers is 8th October, 2018.

 

For Abstract Submission:

Dr. Syed Waqar Ali Shah
Conference Coordinator
waqar_ali@uop.edu.pk