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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Yousafzai
Full Name: Manzoor Ahmad Yousafzai
User since: 20/Apr/2008
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Concept and regulation of Property under the Constitution of Pakistan

 

            Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan defines property as “Property” includes any right , title or interest in property, movable or immovable and any means and instruments of production.

 

            Article 23 says, Every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property in any part of Pakistan, subject to the Constitution and any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest.

 

            Article 24(1) says No person shall be deprived of his property save in accordance with law.

 

            Article 24(2) says No property shall be compulsorily acquired or taken possession of save for a public purpose, and save by the authority of law which provides for compensation or specifies the principles on and the manner in which compensation is to be determined and given.

 

            Article 24(3(a) says Nothing in this Article shall affect the validity of any law permitting the compulsory acquisition or taking possession of any property for preventing danger of life, property or public health;

            (b) any law permitting the taking over of any property which has been acquired by, or come into the possession of any person by any unfair means, or in any manner, contrary to law;

            (e)        any law providing for the acquisition of any class or property for the purpose of—

(i)        providing education and medical aid to all or any specified class of citizens; or

 

(ii)              providing housing and public facilities and services such as roads, water, supply, sewerage, gas and electric power to all or any specified class of citizens; or

 

(iii)            providing maintenance to those who, on account of unemployment, sickness, infirmity or old age, or unable to maintain themselves;

 

(f)                 any existing law or any law made in pursuance of Article 253.

 

Article 24(4) says The adequacy or otherwise of any compensation provided for by any such law as is referred to in this Article or determined in pursuance thereof, shall not be called in question in any Court. (Courts altogether excluded).

 

Article 172(1) says Any property which has no rightful owner shall, if located in a Province vest in the Government of that Province, and in every other case, in the Federal Government.

 

(2) All lands, minerals and other things of value  within the continental shelf or underlying the ocean within the territorial waters of Pakistan shall vest in the Federal Government.

 

Article 253(1)(a) says Majlis-e-shoora (Parliament) may by law prescribe the maximum limits as to property or any class thereof which may be owned, held, possessed or controlled by any person; and

 

(b) declare that any trade, business, industry or service specified in such law shall be carried on or owned, to the exclusion, complete or partial, or other persons, by the Federal Government or a Province Government, or by a Corporation controlled by any such Government;

 

(2) Any law which permits a person to own beneficially or possess beneficially an area of and greater than that which, immediately before the commencing day, he could have lawfully owned beneficially or possessed beneficially shall be invalid.

 

Article 254 says when any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of that act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.

 

The Constitution is replete with such Articles which pave ways for better life of the people of Pakistan but at the same time do not compel strictly the Government and its functionaries to follow them. The Government and its functionaries are at liberty to pick and choose those Articles which suit their interests. That is why the rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer.

 

Government Servants of the same scales in different departments lead different standards of lives. No internal or external accountability of the Servants or the Governing Class is practiced at present. The Constitution is used as a tool to further impoverish the already poor either by imposing new taxes or increasing the rates of taxes.

 

The Federal and Provincial Governments are owners of the lands, rivers, mountains, deserts and mineral resources inside them but to what extent these Governments have utilized these resources to the benefit of people is a question which is in the mouth of every Pakistani.

 

The business Class is free to increase the prices of their products while the Government has forgotten its inherent role of checks and balances. Federal Government has created NEPRA for justifying price-hike in Electricity while OGRA for sucking the blood of people through increasing prices of Petroleum products and Gas. I do not know the gimmick/logic of the Government that when the price is increased either of electricity or petroleum products, the responsibility is put either on NEPRA or OGRA but when the prices are decreased, it is stated in the statement that “on special instruction of the President or the Prime Minister such and such relief was given to the people”. It is extraordinary kind of hypocrisy that when the people are burden with increase in the prices, other institutions should be blamed but when relief is given then the credit goes either to the President or the Prime Minister. Every institution is working under the President and Prime Minister. The Constitution has absolved them of every liability but when the same is properly amended then both these persons shall be brought to the Supreme Court for their every act.

 

The majority of Politicians are either businessmen or are running businesses through others and every policy is directed in favour of business community.

 

Article 29(2) says, In so far as the observance of any particular Principle of Policy may be dependent upon resources being available for the purpose the Principle shall be regarded as being subject to the availability of resources.

 

After about four decades since the promulgation of the Constitution we have observed that the Country has limitless resources for the Governing Class while heaps of loans have been dumped on the heads of the Governed. The majority of the present politicians are related to those who framed and promulgated the Constitution in 1973 and they were enough vigilant to secure their interests and the present politicians are their descendants and that is why the status quo has been maintained.

 

PTI Chairman Mr. Imran Khan’s slogan of destruction of status quo is very attractive for those persons who declare this status quo responsible for their backwardness.

 

In order to further strengthen grip on the people, the Governing Class has been armed with Article 30(2) which says, The validity of an action or of a law shall not be called in question on the ground that it is not in accordance with the Principles of Policy and no action shall lie against the State, any organ or authority of the State or any person on such ground.

 

It is the bad luck of the people of Pakistan that they are protesting daily against the policies of their own elected people and are helpless to bring their elected people to the Courts and ask from them about the wrong/illegal policies.

 

The Constitution has given in detail the procedure for electing persons for five years but is totally silent on the helplessness of the people in case the people become dissatisfied after two or three years.

 

Non-voting of a party in the next election is no remedy or compensation for the agony which they endure for five years.

 

There should be a provision in the Constitution that if more than fifty percent of the voters of an electoral Constituency (Federal or Provincial or Local Government) sent a Memorandum against their elected representative to the Election Commission of Pakistan, fresh election should be ordered and the elected representative should be asked to defend himself if he wishes, the expenditure for the election should be put on those voters who wish to have fresh election.

 

This provision in the Constitution shall be a bulwark against frequent destructive protests which claims the lives of innocent people along with the tremendous damage to the properties of the people.

 

Presently people have no choice but to bear the consequences of their choice for five years which increase acrimony between the Government and the Governed.

 

At present, the people of Pakistan should demand from the Political Parties and the Government to bring in effective operation Article 253 of the Constitution for the regulation of maximum limit of property owned by a person by having a law for this purpose. The avaricious instinct of a person having power of the Government can be controlled by a law relating to the maximum limit of property both movable and immovable. We have observed over the years that people contest elections to increase their wealth.

 

Not only the declaration of assets is essential as is desired by PTI Chairman Mr. Imran Khan but a National Commission for the Investigation of assets of the Public Office Holders needs to be set up which shall function throughout the year and any vacancy in the Commission shall be filled within one month.

 

The present chaotic condition in the political atmosphere can be rightly attributed to the war for amassing property both movable and immovable. The approach of the business Class to the power corridors has brought the present catastrophic results.

 

It is better to handle the situations skillfully before it may end like those of some of Middle East Countries.

 

Manzoor Ahmad Yousafzai

Friday, June 15, 2012

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