18th Amendment is way forward to save Federalism, says Bilawal

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: The Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took part in a dialogue on the topic of 18th amendment in the constitution and Federalism at LUMS University Lahore on Friday. He said that Pakistan is a country where people are from diverse background and Federalism is system which suits best the countries like us. We tried one unit as well but unfortunately we lost half of our country.
After the dictatorship of General Zia-ul –Haq, our constitution was the only constitution which had a name of a dictator in it. So it was 2010 we reached consensus on amendments and all democratic parties reached consensus for amendment.
While talking about the 2010 consensus, he said that no one else could do it and lots of political parties and dictators tried to reach that consensus even through handpicked parliaments. He said that along with 1973, 2008 was also a traumatic year for Pakistan and we have a confidence and stability now that we did not in 2008 and the 90s.
At the time, the entire country was suffering terrorist attacks and my own mother was assassinated along with riots all over while magazines proclaimed Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. I think these traumas encouraged political parties to sit together and reach a consensus.
Today we take devolution for granted and we tend to forget that the concept of nationalist movements and separatism movements were second only to terrorism in Pakistan, he said.
If you had a headline about bomb blasts from extremists you also had a follow up headline about Pashtun nationalism movements and Baloch nationalism. I am not saying that those issues have gone away, but these challenges to the state of Pakistan have been addressed through devolution and the 18th amendment.
When asked about the most consequential changes that the 18th amendment brought, he said that the right to education, right to information and the right to fair trial were not a part of constitutional rights until the 18th amendment.