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September 11, 2018

Rolling back 18th Amendment to undermine Federation: PPP leader


September 11, 2018

PESHAWAR: Pakistan People's Party (PPP)'s former Senator Farhatullah Babar has warned that the muted murmurs about rolling back the 18th Amendment and changing National Finance Commission (NFC) formula to fund ever-rising security expenditure without accountability will alienate the provinces and undermine the federation.

Speaking at an orientation programme organised by the PIPS for the members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday, he said such a move would pit the federating units against the federation and have consequences.

He said disregarding the constitutionally mandated division of powers between state institutions and the systemic weakening of the Parliament had already undermined the federal structure of the state.

The former senator complained that the civil-military bureaucratic complex refused to answer parliamentary questions. The judicial independence appears to have become independent from law and Constitution made by the Parliament, he added.

Farhatullah Babar pointed out that judicial independence appeared to have gone too far when fine is slapped on an errand MPA to raise money for building dams. "When the parliamentary question about allotment of scores of acres of land to a retired state functionary is dismissed with an angry tweet, it only shows contempt for the Parliament," he added.

He said that democracy was a process that rested on the tripod of rule of law, transparency and accountability. However, he added that only parliamentarians were subjected to microscopic scrutiny, painted black and victimised in the name of accountability.

Farhatullah Babar said that accountability was critical, but it would be a charade unless it was across the board and there were no sacred cows. "There is not one good reason why parliamentarians, ministers, civil servants, judges and generals all paid out of state exchequer are not subjected to the same accountability law," he argued. The PPP leader urged the lawmakers to make full use of constitutional bodies like the Senate, the Council of Common Interests, the NFC and the National Executive Committee to ensure rights of the federating units.

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