Monday March 27, 2023

Strong provinces guarantee resilient Pakistan, says Haleem

January 09, 2022
Strong provinces guarantee resilient Pakistan, says Haleem

Sindh Assembly opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh on Saturday said that strong provinces are a guarantee of a resilient Pakistan as the federating units are the foundation of a federation.

Addressing a seminar titled ‘Pakistan and Federalism Convention’ organised by The Intellectual Forum at the Karachi Press Club, Sheikh stressed on the need for national unity and harmony while keeping personal interests aside to strengthen Pakistan and ensure the safety, security and welfare of the nation.

“Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam and we are a single nation, so all the political parties should desist from fanning hatred on ethnic, linguistic and geographical basis.”

He said that short-sighted politicians who are conspiring to weaken the federation must not forget that they are actually weakening the people of all its federating units.

Sheikh said he supports the stance of the people of Sindh against the Kala Bagh Dam project, but it must be understood that natural gas, electricity, river, sea, ports and other natural resources are actually national resources, and all the provinces have equitable rights over them.

He said the 18th constitutional amendment is a hallmark amendment that provides for the devolution of authority to grassroots level so that all the basic facilities, including health and education, can be ensured at the lowest level of governance. He called for implementing the amendment in letter and spirit, particularly in Sindh.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader claimed that Sindh has received Rs8.9 trillion in the past 13 years, but only Rs1.6 trillion has been utilised for the development of the province, while the provincial planning & development department indicates that 44 per cent of the utilised amount has gone into corruption.

He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) always blames the federal government for not providing Sindh its due share from the divisible pool, but the National Finance Commission’s advocates never convened the Provincial Finance Commission throughout their tenure in the province and kept all the areas deprived of their due share of resources.

“It is vital to strengthen the people of Sindh by ensuring their access to education, health, clean drinking water and other basic facilities at their doorstep.”

Sheikh said the PTI opposes the Sindh Local Government Act because it violates Article 140-A of the constitution, which requires the devolution of administrative, financial and political authorities to local governments, adding that strengthening the LG system is also essential for strengthening the federation.

He said the PPP has been following in the footsteps of Sheikh Mujeeb, adding that the party has fulfilled four of Mujeeb’s six points, while work continues on the fifth: mobilisation of force at provincial level.

“Several Sindh-based senior PSP officers like Sanaullah Abbasi and Bashir Memon belong to federal service, and those sons of Sindh served at federal level, but the PPP dislikes them because they didn’t support the PPP’s illegal systems.”

Sheikh said the PPP handed over thousands of acres of land to a private housing project, and the same company was silently given control of three islands, but when the Centre came up with proposals for developing the same islands, the PPP termed it an invasion of the province.

“The PPP did the same when the Supreme Court directed to take over three tertiary-care hospitals of Karachi for improving their management. The party adopted the same anti-federation narrative when the overall tax collection declined following Covid-19, and consequently, the share of the provinces shrunk.”