ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said on Saturday that since its inception in 1973, the Upper House of Parliament had been calling for enhancement in its powers to strengthen the federation.
It was not aimed at encroaching the provincial autonomy as independent and autonomous provinces were guarantee of a strong and prosperous federation, he said addressing a seminar.
The seminar titled "Enhancement of Powers of Senate for Stronger Federation" was organized to mark completion of the second parliamentary year of the Senate of Pakistan.
Rabbani said the Upper House always spoke for providing complete autonomy to the provinces and giving them their due share of national resources.
The Upper House, he said, had recently passed a resolution for enhancement of its role and powers to protect the rights of the federating units and giving them a meaningful participation in the affairs of the federation.
He said currently senators had no power of vote during the joint session the parliament and called for equal voting rights for both the Houses.
He said the National Finance Commission (NFC) award should be announced after every five years as had been agreed in the 18th Amendment. If the NFC award could be announced in time then its time could be extended with the consent of the Upper House, he said, adding that one per cent extra share should also be paid to the provinces for delay of every year.
He said the Senate had also proposed that all the provincial chief ministers should be given an opportunity to address the House to inform it about their performance.
Addressing the seminar, Sindh Cheif Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said strengthening the Senate meant strengthening the provinces, which would ultimately lead to strengthening of the federation.
He said due to the efforts of Senate Chairman, six senators were included in the Public Accounts Committee to further ensure transparency in the governance.
Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said the Upper House played a key role in making the federation stronger as it represented the federating units.
Leader of the Opposition in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan, Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani and Senior Minister Punjab Assembly Raja Ashfaq Server also spoke on the occasion.