KARACHI - Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said on Saturday that rolling back the 18th Amendment would weaken the federation and have serious consequences for the country.

“Rolling back the 18th Amendment could lead to a catastrophe,” he said while addressing a condolence reference for comrade Jam Saqi at Arts Council of Pakistan. Keeping in view the internal and external challenges facing the country, he said, it would be better not to open new fronts. He said that even today provinces had less powers and any attempt to roll back the 18th Amendment would be dangerous.  “There is a need for more caution in the current situation because the country is fighting terrorism,” he said. He said the country suffered only during martial laws and military rules led the country to disasters.

Rabbani, who is a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), said that everybody should learn from the life of Jam Saqi who made an exemplary struggle for rights of labourers, students and farmers. He said Saqi was imprisoned during his struggle, but he did not compromise his principles.

“He is the best example to be followed by the new generation,” he said. He said he felt that the state was weakening. If someone raises the issue of Article 251 of the Constitution, which is about languages in the country, the federation will be in danger.

He said that after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is provinces’ discretion to develop curriculum for the next generation. “Our curriculum shows if there are eight benefits of democracy, there are 11 benefits of dictatorship,” he said, adding that this should be changed and provinces should be given full powers to change their curriculum.

National Party President Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, who is also a federal minister, said, “People like Saqi are born in decades, but it would be wrong to say that people of his calibre are no more in our society. People of Jam Saqi’s stature are present in the society, but there is a need to bring them forward,” he said. He said that today’s Pakistan had a big number of genius people, but they needed the best leadership to lead them in the right direction.

He said although they were in different parties but they had the same ideology. He said, on behalf of all participants, he would ask Rabbani to find a way to strengthen democracy in the country because this was the only way forward to national prosperity.

Justice (Retd) Rasheed A Rizvi said that Jam Saqi led an exemplary struggle for the deprived segments of the country. He did not compromise his principles despite hurdles, he said.