Devolution necessary for federation: Rabbani

KARACHI: “Our country now cannot be run on centralized system. If devolution of power is tried to roll back then the federation itself would not remain in function,” said Senator Raza Rabbani on Wednesday.

The senator said the local government system devised by the ex-president Pervaiz Musharraf was a centralized system in which administrations had to look at the federation for funds as provinces did not have powers.

The ongoing political skirmishes were in reality turf war, however it should be kept in mind that derailment of democracy after the 18th amendment had become somewhat difficult apart from this maturity of political parties to put differences aside and support the incumbent government to save democracy and parliament was also a factor that did not let the derailment, he said.

Rabbani expressed these views while addressing the final session, Policy Dialogue on Implementation of 18th Constitutional Amendment, of 3-day workshop entitled “Media Course on Decentralized Development Governance” organized by Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors in cooperation with United Nations Development Programme at a local hotel.

“At the time when federal government is every now and then violating the constitution, I have complain from political parties as well, that were involved in the struggle for the 18th amendment, that they have not raised their voices against this,” he said.

He said the constitution of 1973 was constituted with such a great consensus of all the schools of thoughts that even dictatorships could not shake its sustainability.

Secretary General Jamiat Ulama-e-Islami Sindh Khalid Mehmood Soomro said the powers required by the provinces in the amendment had remained a word of mouth.

“The resources of the provinces are their property bestowed upon them by Allah (SWT) then how could one deprive them from them,” he said.

Naib Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Asadullah Bhutto said though a few devolution powers had been given to provinces but the biggest problem we were facing was corruption in the country. “Government should make media free and media should show all the political parties equally rather than taking sides,” he said.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said how the implementation of the 18th amendment is possible when the power of implementation was possessed by two so-called big political parties and they had to rule in turns.

He said it was the first time politicians had got chance after 1973 to bring some positive change when amendment was being made.

“Though the amendment is not idealistic which could bring revolution, however if implemented in letter and spirit it could open doors of progress,” he said.

In an earlier session that day, Development and Disaster Reporting: Concepts and Methodologies, Senator Taj Haider said installation of 150 RO (reverse osmosis) plants in Tharparkar, where a large natural reservoir of underground saline water existed, had been completed while 338 would be completed by January 2015.

He said the government was taking steps to initiate bio-saline agriculture in Thar.

UNDP Resource Person Noreen Haider said the natural disasters were actually natural hazards that turned to be disaster due to weaknesses of state to cope with it.

She said it was better to take pre-disaster steps rather than providing food to the affectees after the hell had broken over them.

President CPNE Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami, who presided over the workshop, concluded it with thanks.

Editor Daily Express Newspaper Tahir Najmi, Prof Tauseef Ahmed Khan, National Technical Advisor UNDP Amjad Bhatti, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Secretary General CPNE Abdul Jabbar Khattak and many senior journalists from different media houses were also present.

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