Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:43
ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of Parliament on Thursday approved formation of a committee to examine various steps by the government in devolution process and also look into procedural problems in this regard.
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani moved the motion under Rule 204 of Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business that was adopted unanimously by the House. Under the motion, the committee has been given three-month time to submit a report on the devolution process.
Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari said the composition of the committee would be later decided after consultation with Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition besides defining its Terms of Reference.
Minister for Law and Justice Farooq H Naek said the Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination would be in better position to explain as why the vertical programmes were retained with Federation despite their devolution under the 18th Amendment.
Hasil Bazenjo told the House that provincial authorities of Balochistan have informed him that they were not consulted yet to retain these vertical programmes with the Federation.
Leader of the Opposition Ishaq Dar mentioned to a letter written by Principal Secretary written on October 4, 2011 narrating the details as why these vertical programmes were retained with the Federation on pretext of safeguarding vital support being provided by international partner agencies after considering the views of the provincial government. He demanded that the minister concerned should be called to the House to explain the issues regarding the devolution process.
Earlier, Senator Zahid Khan said that he was insisting on the formation of a special committee of the House as the executive order was in violation of the 18th constitutional amendment. He said there was a need to formulate modalities for ensuring devolution of powers from center to the provinces.
Law Minister Farooq H Naek said that the subject was preview of the provinces but under Article 147 of the Constitution, any province could entrust its powers to the federal government but the same would have to be approved by the respective assemblies within 60 days.
Senator Raza Rabbani apologised for his conduct on Wednesday and said that the motion moved by him was not against the federal government and rather it was aimed at facilitating the federal government.
He said since the implementation commission had seized to function last year, there was no parliamentary oversight to ensure devolution of powers to provinces. He said that there was a very strong vested interest against devolution process which did not allow devolution process to complete. "There are areas where huge sums of money are involved and I can brief the chair in the chambers if needed. International donors were also against the devolution process".
He said the PPP leadership remained committed to the cause of provincial autonomy.
He said Pakistan should not step aside its constitutional obligations for donors.
He said it was in interest of the government to form a bipartisan committee of the House which would be formed by the chairman.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2012