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Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 18:22 UK

Pakistanis react to vote curbing president's powers

The Pakistani parliament has voted unanimously in favour of measures which limit key presidential powers.

The measures transfer certain powers from the office of the president to the prime minister and take away his power to dismiss elected governments.

The BBC has been on the streets of the northern city of Peshawar and the southern city of Karachi to gauge reaction to the vote.

AKHTAR BALOCH, SOCIAL WORKER, KARACHI

Akhtar Baloch

"It's the first step towards change.

"The effects will take a while to reach the people. That depends a lot on how and when the changes are implemented.

"One good thing is that they have reduced the size of the federal and provincial cabinets. Fewer ministers means less money spent - this will boost the exchequer.

"The renaming of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa is a good step - it will increase patriotism in that province.

"The clear separation of the powers of the federal and provincial government is also a major step. All the credit for this goes to President Zardari."

ABDUL JABBAR, PLUMBER, KARACHI

Abdul Jabbar

"The move to empower the prime minister is great and will provide much stability to democracy in Pakistan.

"It's also good that they have done away with any avenues which may provide an opportunity for dictators to take power.

"It's the dictators who have ruined the country.

"Only those people who were happy with the rule of [ex-President Pervez] Musharraf and the his government are unhappy at the amendments."

ZAMIR AWAN, STUDENT, KARACHI

Zamir Awan

"I don't think the public will benefit in any way from these amendments.

"Definitely the politicians will derive great benefit from them, as the TV channels are saying.

"These changes are not going to lower inflation, or the prices of petrol and electricity.

"I don't know if any military man wants to take over in the future, but I personally want President Musharraf to come back."

SHAHNAWAZ, PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYEE, KARACHI

Shahnawaz

"If the political parties united to help the people, the same way they have united to pass these amendments, then much of the troubles of the common man would be resolved.

"They [the politicians] are saying the constitution has been restored, but when have they ever followed the law?

"The poor man cannot get justice, employment or even the most basic rights.

"These are supposed to be the fundamental laws which these politicians say are enshrined in the constitution."

BILAL ABBAS, UNIVERSITY STUDENT, PESHAWAR

Bilal Abbas

"Some of the things were good but some things were controversial.

"I would say 90% of the amendments were good for the country.

"But they should not have changed the name of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

"There are other ethnic groups, like the Hazaras, who are not happy with that amendment.

"But most of all the problem in Peshawar is one of security.

"Until and unless the government can ensure that our lives our safe here, everything else is worthless."

SAUD ALAM, PRIVATE EMPLOYEE, PESHAWAR

Saud Alam

"I think the best thing was the fact that NWFP has been named as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

"We are very happy that this has happened. Now the Pashtuns have a separate identity.

"We celebrated this in our village.

"But there are other things that the government still needs to do to translate this into real action and solve our problems."



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