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PESHAWAR: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Wednesday said the Senate should be given more powers and an enhanced role in the budget formation.

An effective mechanism should be evolved so that the provinces could raise their voice through the Senate, thus enabling it to safeguard provincial autonomy, he said talking to reporters here at the National Institute of Management.

Raza Rabbani said the parliament should be made more vibrant to reach out to the people and infuse confidence in them.    He said according to the scheme of 1973 Constitution, the Senate was the repository of powers to defend provincial autonomy at the federal level.

Therefore, the mode of its election was based on the method of single transferable vote for the simple reason that all the shades of political opinion in provincial assemblies would have an opportunity of being a representative of federal level in the Senate, he added. Later, delivering a lecture on "Challenges in Implementation and Management of Provincial Autonomy in the Context of 18th Amendment" to the participants of 23rd Mid-Career Management Course, he said the 18th Constitutional Amendment was a paradigm shift, according to which strong provinces guaranteed a strong Pakistan.   He said the 18th Amendment was yet to be implemented fully and the provinces were lethargic in that regard.

The 18th Amendment, he said, provided a mechanism for the resolution of conflicting issues among provinces and the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had also been given a more vibrant role.

Rabbani said health and education had historically remained provincial subjects, but a particular mindset was opposing their transfer and that of curriculum and syllabus to the provinces. He said the Constitution and Rules of Business provided for a mechanism to settle the question of provincial autonomy. The CCI was the engine of 18th Constitutional Amendment, which was aimed to place it at juxtaposition with the federal cabinet.

Rabbani gave a detailed overview of the functioning of the CCI and its new role after the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

He said the elite were responsible for not evolving a mechanism and a system to steer the country out of the quagmire of challenges.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2017

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