In continuation of its prestigious tradition to hold annual seminar on Constitution Day in order to instill the significance of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 among citizens, particularly the youth the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services organized a Seminar on Constitution day on 10 April 2017 at its main campus in Islamabad. The event culminated with the generous support provided by PIPS partner institution KAS. Honorable Senator Farhatullah Babar was the chief guest of the occasion which was attended by 126 participants majority of them including students from ten universities i.e. PIDE, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, CUST, Air University, Abdul Wali Khan University, International Islamic University, Riphah Institute of Public Policy, Bahria University, Fatima Jinnah Women University, and University of Swabi.
The event began with the National Anthem followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran. Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan, welcomed the participants and gave a statistical presentation on “Constitution of 1973 – the user manual of statecraft.” With the use of statistics, Mr. Zafarullah highlighted the importance of the Constitution in ensuring the fundamental human rights of ordinary citizens in historical context in spite facing challenges from PCOs, LFO and the declaration of emergency in the country. Ms Tehseen Khalid, Senior Research Officer PIPS moderated the programme.
Addressing the youthful audience, the Chief Guest of the occasion Honorable Senator Farhatullah Babar highlighted the basic characteristics of the Constitution and appreciated that it represents the views of all major segments of society including provinces, as well as religious schools of thought. However, he reiterated that without maintaining effective link between the citizens and the parliament it remains an “elusive document.” Among the challenges he mentioned the mindset which was expressed by the father of nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, during his address to Army Officers in 1948 whereby he stated that “I noticed that there was not required appreciation for the constitution.”
Honorable MNA, Ms. Nafeesa Khattak gave a talk on “Parliament: a source of tolerance in the society.” She highlighted that unrest culminates in the society when fundamental rights are guaranteed in letter and spirit. She emphasized the role of Parliamentarians as leaders for ensuring peace harmony and tolerance in the society. Honorable MNA, Ms. Naeema Kishwer, spoke on “Youth in Parliament and Democracy.” She underscored the significance of the local government in upholding the democratic tradition in the country and highlighted the opportunity it offers to youth, as the institution is getting strengthened and opening new avenues for learning in the upcoming decades. A highly interactive Q&A session followed the individual presentations, in which Honorable Parliamentarians responded to critical questions of audience in a very humble manner.
TThe second part of the event was dedicated to an inter university speech contest in which students from various universities spoke on the given topics i.e. “The Constitution of 1973: Narrative for Peaceful and Democratic Future.” The contestant from Riphah Institute of Public Policy Muhammad Mughees Hovaida clinched the first position. Second position was awarded to Ms Qintara Khan from Air University, third position to Ms Bramsh Khan from PIDE and consolation prize was awarded to Ms Sara Zikriya from International Islamic University Islamabad. Honorable MNA, Ms. Nafeesa Khattak, presented certificates and gifts to the participants at the end of the contest. Mr Qazi Shams Ud Din, CIA, Mr Mir Shai Mazar baloch ADHR and Ms Sadia Bashir, Legislation officer were the jury of the speech contest. The event ended with vote of thanks presented by Director Research & IT PIPS, Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka. Everyone acknowledged PIPS for their team work.