Civics and Political science are the social science discipline that focuses on the sociopolitical systems within the city and the state. Similarly, both disciplines taught how government impacts society, and how society affects government and its institutions.
However, being a student of both subjects, I learnt a lot from both disciplines within the context of my homeland Pakistan and the region around. In fact, my learnings in these disciplines facilitated me to observe sociopolitical, cultural, economic and inter-related systems within the city and the state not only in Pakistan, but Afghanistan, Azerbaijan (including Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic), Iran, Iraq (including Iraqi Kurdistan), Turkey, Qatar, UAE, Uzbekistan along with Russian federated states in North Caucasus (Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia-Alania, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria). Similarly, my engagements with numerous think tanks and universities faculty members in Austria, Azerbaijan, India, Iran and Georgia made me able to examine what is necessary and what is being harmful for the strengthen future of Pakistan.
During comparatively analyzing the constitutions of 158 states, once Aristotle advised the students of civics and political science to use comparative research methodology for tracing the answers of three questions;
- What is good?
- What is bad?
- What ought to be?
Hence, I, as primary source, extract some findings and suggestions that I assume to be better for Pakistan, such as;
Pakistan is the multiethnic diverse society like Afghanistan, Iran and Russia, where each ethnic segments has some sort of unique or exclusive interests. Therefore, they can never be controlled by the existing constitutional framework. Moreover, credibility of constitutional committee for designing the Constitution of 1973 has also faced huge criticism whereas; numerous researches have already proved this constitution as almost the 75% copy-paste or alteration of “Indian Act of 1935” while, remaining as extracted from the first constitution of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 1918. Thus, I endorsed the statement of former chief minister of Balochistan Aslam Raesani regarding need of new social contract where each ethnic community must be constitutionally and politically satisfied.
For new social contract, there must be new administrative-based provinces. When we look at the pre-1979 history of Iran, we find lot of ethnic conflicts where almost each ethno-linguistic community was following some sort of separatism (whether weak or strong). However, post-1979 Iranian authorities rearranged the provincial borders and ensured the demographic equalities in already existed or newly established provinces. Since then, Iran has become a symbol of multicultural and cosmopolitan society, and it has been protected from any sort of Yugoslavian Model.
Likewise, I always criticize the supporters of loose federalism and 18th amendment in the constitution of 1973, and ask the question that why Yugoslavia has been wiped out from the world map. Similarly, I also ask why and how Kosovo announced its independence form Serbia. Obviously, all the professors, scholars, researchers or even politicians who know the history of Yugoslavia or at least observed the Serbia-Kosovo conflict, can never assist or trigger the seeds of disintegration in their homeland like Pakistan.
This is universal principle that greater autonomy to any region always leads ethno-national separatism. Examples of Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan, Kurdistan in Iraq and Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan are its somewhat recent examples. Therefore, Pakistan must be a state-centric political system where ethno-linguistic identity of provinces must be ended by announcing each division as the new province. Moreover, each province should have some sort of cultural autonomy as in Russian federated states while, center must be the final authority to ensure multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism within the territorial jurisdiction of the state.
As I have been analyzed political system of Iran as well. I suggest no need of provincial assembly but an empowered local government system like Devolution Plan of Musharraf where non-party based elections were ensuring harmony between ethnic segments in each locality. A contesting group in each locality had been comprised of each caste member staying there, that’s why, various UN reports appreciate local government system of Pakistan during 2000 to 2010 that undermined bureaucratic fascism, political elitism at provincial level, centralized economics, and ethnic dilemmas in entire Pakistan (especially Balochistan, interior Sindh and South Punjab). On the other hand, post-Musharraf local government system(s) does not allow a general councilor of any locality regarding not to replace even a tape of mosque without consent and approval of provincial chief minister.
Similar to Iran, I also suggest only a governor (elected by direct elections) at provincial level that must play his/her role as bridge between local governments and central government. Therefore, he needs no minister but assistance from some public servants. Same must be the case of Upper house where each member must be elected through direct election. It would really eliminate the sale-purchase of Senate tickets, and pure representations from each province would get their space in legislature.
Center must not allow any province to negotiate or conduct any agreement with foreign entities. Otherwise, what has been happened in Iraqi Kurdistan, can be assumed in Pakistan. Although, Russian assistance to Iraqi government has protected the territorial integration of Iraq, otherwise, United States and Israel were sure to see emergence of another sovereign state in the Middle East.
For new social contract (can also called new constitution), no one must idealize loose or tight federalism, unitarism or confederation but the “Third Position”. In fact, third Positionism is basically a newly emerged school of political economy that I personally elaborate as “every ethno-national movement seeks political and economic control within a piece of land where it exists. However, this control can be based upon sovereignty or regional autonomy, depended upon the satisfaction level of respective ethnic community”. However, once a social contract is signed and finalized under the defined principles of Third Positionism, no community must be allowed further to claim any new demand in future, but to strictly disgraced by the central authorities.
At the same time, technocracy must be the principle in designing central government as in United States. Otherwise, political affiliations of prime minister or president can appoint a landlord as foreign minister, a matriculate as education minister, an accountant as finance minister, or a glamorous personality as a religious minister.
And finally, there should be some sort of another militia like “Islamic Revolution Guards Corp” (IRGC) in Iran or “Federal Security Force” of Bhutto that must aim to protect national ideology along with meritocracy and transparency in each sector of the state. As post-1979 Iran has followed Bhutto’s model of FSF for ensuring not only the corruption-free society and ideological strength but to avoid from western manipulation of military forces in any state regarding sponsored regimes change. Hence, emergence of such militia under president (must also be elected directly) would be a tool to make constitutional institutions and public servants in their defined limits.
This is what I leant from civics and political science, and I always try at each forum (including classroom, conference, webinar or workshop) for projecting with academic evidences that what I perceive. However, politicized media and paid journalists is the biggest hurdle in pure socialization of masses in Pakistan. Therefore, I also recommend strict censorship under an institution (similar to FSF during Bhutto regime or recently established Rehmatul-lil-Aalameen Authority during Imran Khan regime) but must not allow any newspaper, news channel, or social media tool to project fake news, propagated story, bogus research or political interests.
As civics and political science; both tell me how state is a pride of its citizens, I never think to compromise on a strengthen Pakistan, and for me, there is only a slogan what Musharraf always raised: “Pakistan First”.
Dr. Muhammad Asim is PhD in Political Economy, currently serving in the Government Associate College (Boys) Dhoke Syedan, Rawalpindi Cantonment (Pakistan), and honorary Vice-President at Pak-Iran Intellectuals Forum (Islamabad and Qom). His email is: email@example.com