Senate rejects move to reduce NFC Award share of provinces
Resolution to move bill presented by Senator Saif fizzles out | Opposition says democracy is under attack, elite want to control resources through Islamabad
Ruling coalition Senator M Ali Saif Monday failed to get the required support to move a bill aimed at bringing changes to the Constitution about the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award as the opposition warned against any such step and said the Parliament and democracy were under attack.
The resolution moved by Saif to bring the bill for constitutional changes was opposed by 25 Senate members while 17 senators favoured the motion. The opposition members from PPP, PML-N, JUI-F, PkMAP and BNP-M voted against the resolution.
Taking part in the debate, PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman described the NFC Award as a social contract with the people and said debate on presidential system was launched whenever any issue surfaced.
Similarly, Senator Raza Rabbani of PPP said the elite had always wanted to ensure the control of Islamabad over resources.
He said the 18th Amendment had not reduced the role of Centre and added that new loans were acquired without the Parliament’s approval.
Rabbani said they were ready for reviewing Article 160 3-A but they would demand that the provinces should collect all taxes and pay the amount to the Centre after verifying the bills.
According to the bill moved by Senator Saif of MQM, the Article 160 3-A – which stipulates that the provinces share in any new NFC Award should not be less than the previous one – should be amended.
It suggested that the NFC would determine the share of each province after taking into consideration the needs and liabilities of the Centre.
Just like the PPP leaders, JUI-F’s Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman said discussing the NFC Award or the 18th Amendment was tantamount to weakening the country.
He remarked that those discussing these two subjects for changes were just pawns, as the actual people weren’t coming forward. It was the 18th Amendment which was causing pain to them, said the JUI-F leader.
He warned that the country won’t survive if the 18th Amendment was attacked, adding, “What do you want by triggering debate on such subjects in the country?”
Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri – JUI-F general secretary – said their demand was that the Centre should have only four subjects. He reminded the House that Saif was a minister in the Musharraf government, who had destroyed the country.
Senator Usman Kakar of PkMAP said they would not accept the presidential system and any change in the 18th Amendment. The incumbent government had been imposed on the country to get modify the unanimously approved 18th Amendment, he added.
Expressing his views, PML-N leader Senator Mushahidullah said no one had the courage to change the 18th Amendment and introduce presidential system in the country.