Yes to country, no to president

Pakistan now has a sovereign Parliament in place. The newly elected members have taken their oaths under the 1973 Constitution, and have also elected, by two-thirds majority, a new speaker and deputy speaker. Despite all of the backstage attempts to rig the 18 February elections in defiance of popular will, the new National Assembly is now set to move ahead with the agenda agreed upon between the leaderships of the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in their Bhurban (Murree) Declaration of 9 March.

The 30-day countdown has already started for the reinstatement of those Supreme Court judges who were illegally removed by then-General Pervez Musharraf, in his capacity as army chief, and for those who refused to take oath under his unconstitutional PCO – an acronym that should stand for 'Personal Constitutional Order' rather than 'Provisional Constitutional Order'. But questions still abound as to how all of his wrongs will be undone. Will it be through an executive order of the prime minister, or by a resolution of the National Assembly? No matter how it is to be accomplished, though, through the general elections the people of Pakistan have delivered a clear verdict: they want an end to one-man rule in their country. In its stead, they have opted for democracy and moderation, and have declared a firm 'no' to religious extremism and violence.

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Himal Southasian