Some Proposals for the New Government of Pakistan - By: Munir M Hasan, PhD

For the consideration of the new government, I am proposing the broad outlines of some of the actions which can immensely improve the working of the government and the shape of Pakistan.

FOR THE CHANGES IN THE CONSTITUTION

To Do Away with the Caretaker Government
Before introducing the caretaker government it was believed that the incumbent governments cannot hold general elections fairly. The idea of caretaker government was introduced so that the elections could be held by a neutral set-up without doing any favour to any party. In fact, it has lost the purpose for which it was introduced. The past experiences have confirmed that the caretaker governments are nothing but the continuation of the previous governments, and have failed to hold the elections fairly.

Tenure of the Government
Tenure of the government should be made 4 years. This is quite enough period for a ruling party to implement its policies. If in USA the ruling party and its president can implement its manifesto in four years, why not the ruling party and the Prime Minister of Pakistan can do it in this period. Next elections should be held in 2022.

Date of General Elections
The day of general elections should be fixed for all times. It should be held on the 1st Tuesday of March in the election years. Disputes should be decided within two weeks and the elected Assembly members should take oath on the morning of 21st of March. The elections of the speaker and the Deputy Speaker in the national and in all the provincial assemblies should take place the same afternoon/evening. The election of Prime Minister should be held on 22nd March and the oath-taking ceremony of the Prime Minister should be held on the morning of 23rd March, making it as the most important event/ceremony of the day, as well as the first day of the new Government. The elections of the Chief Ministers may be held one or two days later. These dates are proposed so that the next budget can be easily presented by the new government in the month of June.

Size of the Cabinet
The size of the federal cabinet should be limited to a maximum of 20 ministers including the ministers of state, and the size of provincial cabinets should be limited to 15 ministers. These numbers are proposed so that the ministries may not be offered to the party members and/or their allies as bribery. This number of 20 ministers in the federal cabinet is comparable with the number of federal ministries in the USA which is much bigger in population and much more dominant power in world politics, and still can keep the number of ministries low.

Here I have no intention to give my detailed comments on the ministries given to the federal ministers recently. Still I want to say that some present decisions seem to be illogical. The Ministry of Defense Production has been given to a person who has no concern whatsoever with any type of industrial production what to speak of Defense Production. This ministry could have easily been merged with the Ministry of Defense and one ministry could be saved. Another example is that the Ministry of Information Technology has been given to a person who has no knowledge of Information Technology. In fact, these positions have been handed over to incompetent persons and have been wasted completely.

Eligibility of Judiciary and Top Bureaucracy
The positions of the judges and top bureaucracy demand that these persons should work in complete neutrality and should not favour any political party. So, these positions should not be given to a person who has ever been a member or worked as an active supporter of a political party.

OTHER LAWS TO BE MADE OR REVISED
Political
In order to eliminate “horse trading”, persons changing a Political party to join another party should not be eligible to take party ticket and should not be allowed to contest elections before the expiry of two years after joining the new party.

If a person in a superior position, such as assembly members, officers of BPS 20 and above, CEOs of the organizations both in the government and in the private sectors, is blamed being involved in corruption or in any other illegality, then his case for determination of prima facie be referred to the Supreme Court, which should decide the case in two weeks. If prima facie is confirmed, he should be suspended from the office he is holding until the case is finally decided by the relevant courts.

In order to eliminate the impression of dominance of Punjab province in the decisions of the federal government, present Punjab province should be divided into three provinces including former Bahawalpur State as the third Province. This will make the size of the new provinces comparable with the other provinces. In fact I have already written an article on this proposal which was published in the “South Asian Pulse” on 15th April 2018.

Financial
There must be a relationship between the lowest and the highest salary structure. The maximum salary should not be more than 50 times the lowest salary. It means, if the lowest salary per month of an employee is Rs.15,000, then the highest salary of any senior officer should not be more than 750,000. So, all the basic pay scales should be revised accordingly and MP1 and MP2 scales be discontinued except for a specially-invited foreign well-known scholar/expert, if required, who should be paid according to his status in his own country. This highest salary must include ALL perks such as home, car, personal servants, etc., and if any office holder is availing any of the perks, it must be paid for and the amount on market rate basis must be deducted from his salary. This proposal is being made so that the highly-paid jobs may not be offered as a reward/bribery for helping in corruption.

The pension in the government is paid when a person has served the government for at least 25 years. The Presidents, Prime Ministers serve only for 4/5 years and so are not eligible to get a pension or any special financial benefits. Usually these office holders are rich and can easily afford to live on their own. If by chance any former President or Prime Minister is so poor that he cannot live on his own, he should apply for some financial help declaring his income and all of his local and foreign assets. If found to be poor, he may be helped by awarding a benefit equivalent to the pension of a grade 22 officer, and no other special benefits or protocol be given to him.

The assembly members are the members of the law-making bodies and they don’t have any legal administrative powers. The practice of awarding a handsome amount to them in the name of development funds is a sort of bribery to them. It must be stopped. The development projects should be carried out through the relevant bodies which are legally authorized to do these jobs under the relevant rules for the control of the public money. I have written an article on this issue which was published in the “South Asian Pulse” on 7th of May, 2018.

Medical
Getting medical facilities is the right of every citizen. But it should be on equality basis. While in Pakistan large number of citizens cannot get medical facility in Pakistan, no political leader nor any office bearer in the government has any right to get any medical help in a foreign country. They should not be allowed to get treatment in a foreign country on government expenses.

Education Policy
Educational policy should be completely overhauled. Previously, university education was given importance and the school education was neglected. In fact school education (12 years of education until the age of 18 years) should be given utmost importance because this is the age of character building of the young children and the nation. Within a couple of days I will write a separate article to explain it. To count how many persons are literate in a country, it is the school education which is considered, and not the university education.

The main function of a university is to carry out research. Only those universities should be allowed to continue to work as universities which publish a definite number of research papers. If a university does not publish research papers, its status as a university should be withdrawn and should be given the status of a college.

About Police
The Police are the main source of criminal activities in Pakistan. Presently police is not working as a real Police. It is in fact the gang of criminals which patronizes the crimes and the criminals after taking bhatta from them. This Police also act as armed forces of the ruling political parties and oblige the governments by obeying all their illegal orders and help in their illegal acts. This system should also be completely overhauled.

Posted on Aug 27, 18 | 5:56 am