By Senator Rehman Malik
Charter of Democracy (CoD) exists in its form but has neither been practiced nor has the any other party including PTI yet adopted it. The CoD was created and signed for the sake of maintaining sustainability in democracy, improvement of the rule and for the independence of judiciary.
It was unfortunate to note that the parties raise the slogans of charters, and the most recently announced charter is the Charter of Economy (CoE) which I will call as marriage of connivance between the government and the opposition. If it is signed then obviously it will again be implemented at the cost of a common man who will continue to suffer through the price hike. Common man does not understand CoE but is interested as to how it would affect his day to day financial needs. Would this COE provide the relief to the common man? The answer is no, but it will provide an opportunity to the government to get away with this price hike at the cost of a common man.
The COE has emerged not for love of a common man but to get the smooth sailing of the government using this slogan. I wish the opposition and government would have proposed a charter of common man (Misaq- e- Aam Adami) based on the principles of Islam and social justice. I hardly see the use of word of a common man in our economic system.
The Charter of Allah as ordained in the Holy Quran, in fact, fully protects a common man. HE does not stop a human being to be rich but has asked you to be kind to the poor and look after them. We human beings are connected to one another which breed love & care. What draws us closer to each other are the moments of cooperation, support and help during Happiness and Sufferings.
Unfortunately the commandments of Allah on Zakat and Usher are neither being much talked about our Islamic Republic as a starting point to alleviate the poverty nor it finds its place in our economic policies, which is not only deviation from the divine commandments but also amounts to dishonesty and selfishness. There is a long list of taxes becoming a burden on a common man on daily basis and the common, in fact, is being pushed to wall.
The two very taxes that Islam has emphasized upon are Zakat and Usher have also not been implemented whereas according to Islam, it is compulsory for a true Muslim that he has to pay Zakat which is basically a mean to help poor and needy person. The. Zakat purifies the rest of the money left with us. “Zakat” literally means to purify, and by paying the zakat, Allah actually blesses and purifies the money that is left with us. Zakat is an obligation and duty for every believer who believes in Allah and the Last Day. Its importance in Islam can be noted from the fact that Zakat is divinely considered as one of the five pillars of Islam.
Here are the rulings of Zakat in Islam:
Zakat becomes mandatory if you accumulate your savings. You saved 100,000, you have to pay 2.5% of your savings to the poor and the needy who are living below poverty line (as per Sharia it should be given to Muslims).
If you have gold jewellery the zakat applies to the gold jewellery after one year. If you possess a house where you stay, zakat do not apply to it. But if you possess two houses and you are getting rent as income for the second house then it is obligatory to pay zakat on the second house.
Similarly, Zakat on agricultural products is called Ushr. If a farmer has obtained quality crops from the land and reaches nisab, he is liable to pay 1/10th or its equivalent in silver or gold as Ushr. It is obligatory for him to pay 10% of the produce if the land is naturally irrigated by rain. But the farmer has to pay only 5% if the land is irrigated by other means of irrigation like wells, rivers, tributaries.
Zakat is a perfect way to redistribute the wealth, thus defining a charity-based economy with a particular interest in the poor and the dispossessed Muslims. Allah has made Zakat obligatory for all who are able to do so, and it is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for other Muslims to eliminate inequality among followers of Islam.
I firmly believe that the honest supervision of collection of Zakat and Usher can resolve our major Economic crunch.
Those less fortunate people are often deprived of, health care, good education, inexpensive justice, fair criminal justice system, job guarantee, equal chances and opportunities according to merit, right to vote without fear, standard living as well as the right of freedom of speech. We are lacking in providing equal opportunities to all because we are failing to provide social justice to our people; wealth is concentrated in few hands; poor are looked down upon and people enjoy suppressing the weak.
We as nation have failed to make any qualitative changes in the life of a common man as the political system of our country is failing miserably, rulers make fake promises while asking for votes and fake slogans of change are raised. Due to lack of education and knowledge, common people are unaware of their rights as well as poor are left to die of hunger or disease as there is no proper health system.
Can we protect these rights through a charter with a common man ? Perhaps not for long time as the feudal system provide opportunity to the rich to use poor people to their advantage.
he sole intention of whosoever rises to power in our country is to gather as much of wealth as they can during their tenure instead of bringing reforms for the betterment of their people. As James Freeman Clarke has said: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation”. Let us see our ruler follow this principle in the charter with a common man .
An English Journalist, Walter Bagehot said: “A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities”.
This shows that real statesman should act and think like a common man as he is elected by the common people for the common people. Again it can be resolved as charter with a common man.
The division with social fibre increases unrest within the society whereas even today at one hand the charter of economy is talking about the welfare of the common man, but in reality it is aimed at to resolve the government ‘s political difference on major budget points. So there is nothing for the common man but more for the government and less for the opposition.
I want to ask as to where exactly is the welfare of common man which is supposed to be protected by the CoE? I am raising my voice against our unjustified socio – Economic political system which has so far failed to give relief to a common man of my country.
Did we ever involve the common man in budget making?
Did we ever conduct a pre-budget survey from an independent and transparent manners to asses the voice of common man — NO
We politicians fight for power and name at the cost of a common man who unfortunately continues to remain on receiving end & still waves us with the hope that leaders one day will give them better life for their children.
It is very sad to note that the suicide epidemic is on the rise in Pakistan for the last many years due to worsening economy and it is likely to rise even more. The depression is rising and people are getting into drug addiction. The crude suicide rate per 100,000 per year in Pakistan reaches as high as 4.4.
There should be a symbolic charter between political parties and Government with a “common man” witnessed by the whole parliament. This charter should be part of the condition to allow the party for registration and contesting in elections.
It should be displayed on the walls of the Parliament & provincial assembly halls as a reminder as a duty towards our common masses.
It is my point of view that we have failed to give right of charter to common man to allow the poor masses to have their part of the welfare. I propose “charter of Common man” within the large based charter of economy. A charter without including the direct benefit of common man will be nothing but merely a “marriage of convenience” to rule over the common man and not create the right rule of economy. I am up for a charter of a “common man”.
(The writer is Chairman of think tank “global eye” & former Interior Minister of Pakistan.firstname.lastname@example.org@GlobalEye_GSA)