Wednesday May 22, 2024

PML-N refutes report of party mulling to tweak 18th Amendment

News report, based on sources, asserted that PML-N was thinking about changes in 18th Amendment

By Web Desk
November 20, 2023
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in this udnated picture. — AFP/File
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in this udnated picture. — AFP/File

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday dismissed a report claiming the Nawaz Sharif-led party was mulling making changes in the 18th Constitutional Amendment if it bags a majority in the National Assembly.

Both, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb and manifesto committee chairman Senator Irfan Siddiqui, have rejected the claims made in the report.

“We reject the false report related to changes in the 18th Amendment,” said Marriyum.

“We have not received any such recommendations,” said Senator Siddiqui, who is also a close aide of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. Contrary to what was reported, the senator said that changes in the 18th Amendment were “never discussed” in any party meetings.

A news report, published in an English daily today, claimed that the PML-N’s manifesto committee has received several suggestions including the reversal of the 18th Amendment to change the distribution mechanism of finances among provinces.

The PML-N had formed its manifesto committee comprising over 33 members on November 7 with Senator Siddiqui as its chairman.

The committee was formed days after Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan as the party geared up its political activities ahead of the Feb 8 polls.

“There’s a very strong feeling, rather conviction, among the party’s top leadership that the current arrangements of financial resources distribution among the provinces [under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution] has created unsustainable financial problems,” PML-N source had told the publication on the condition of anonymity.

“So far, it’s believed that the party would not go for an outright reversal of the 18th Amendment, but it would address its key features and reshape the distribution mechanism of financial resources among the provinces. You would hopefully see it as part of the PML-N manifesto,” the source had explained.

Two party leaders, who had spoken to the publication anonymously, had also confirmed the development.

“In the name of provincial autonomy, we have seen that provinces are absolved after receiving their share under the NFC award, while payment of interest and principal instalments of loans, provision of money under the defence budget, matters of deficit-hit national institutions, payment of current account deficit and many other financial affairs become centre’s sole responsibility,” a PML-N leader had said.

The amendment in question has been talked about extensively and there have been calls to make changes in it. It was passed during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government in 2010 and the party has always vowed to resist any moves that would be made to change it.

The amendment devolved powers to provinces on issues such as health, women's development, social welfare, and local government.

The amendment also defined that provinces’ would receive 57.5% of the share of federal resources while the rest of the amount was to be used by the centre for debt servicing, development programmes, defence, and other areas.