Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Demanding provincial autonomy is not separatism: Baloch senators


September 16, 2015

Islamabad: Two Senators have expressed their dissent over the prevailing inter-provincial coordination on the issues of provincial rights and the working of the Council of Common Interests.

“Demands for provincial autonomy must not be viewed as demand for secession and demands for fair provincial share and protection of citizen rights are the best evidence of patriotism. Misconstruing it as demands for secession is unfair and unjust”, said Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini of BNP-M while speaking at an interactive session on Inter-Provincial Matters Coordination arranged by the Pakistan Study Group on Federalism (PSGF) at National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Quaid-i-Azam University,

Senator Jamaldini pointed out that 81 out 84 Baloach chieftains had pledged their allegiance to the state of Pakistan in a meeting with former president Prevaiz Musharraf. He demanded provision of considerable share in mineral resources, fair gas prices and fair development of infrastructure to Balochistan.

He also demanded better distribution of national wealth viewing unfairness in services and shares had been causing dissatisfaction, resentment and poverty in his province. Senator Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari emphasized on the need of taking devolution of power to the citizens through local government.

True spirit of devolution of power means that power should not stop at federal or on provincial levels rather it must go to the citizens where it belongs. Answering a question about performance of inter-provincial coordination mechanisms such as the Council of Common Interest, he said “these institutions must fulfill their constitutional obligations in true spirit of devolution of power”

 He said that CCI must present its annual report before the Parliament as soon as possible. Responding to a question, Senator Mohsin said democracy is a process of on job learning. The more work you do, the more you learn. He emphasized on the need of people to people contact by saying it is the people who weld nations together.

The closer they are the stronger a nation gets. He asked for a compassionate coordination between various units of federation. Later on, talking to media Dr. Sajid Mahmood Awan, Head of the PSGF said that peripheral voices should necessarily be counted in the narrative of federalism to strengthen the federation of Pakistan. He further reiterated that spectrum of inter-provincial coordination should also be extended to intra-provincial coordination through inter-human coordination across the country.

http://nation.com.pk/national/16-Sep-2015/demanding-provincial-autonomy-is-not-separatism-baloch-senators


‘Provincial autonomy must not be misconstrued as secession’

September 16, 2015



ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a session expressed their dissentient over the inter-provincial coordination on the issues of oil, gas, mines, minerals and energy regulatory authorities established under a federal law and the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

While reviewing history of provincial autonomy in Pakistan, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said, “Demands for provincial autonomy must not be viewed as demand for secession.”

He was speaking at a session organised by the Pakistan Study Group on Federalism (PSGF) at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research.

He emphasised his point by relating a meeting between Baloch tribal chiefs and former president Pervez Musharraf, where according to him 81 out of 84 chieftains pledged their allegiance to Pakistan. He said that demand for fair provincial share and protection of citizen rights is one of the best evidence for patriotism. Misconstruing it is as a demand for secession is unfair and unjust, he clarified.

The senator elaborated his point by demanding better share in mineral resources, fair gas prices and fair development of infrastructure in Balochistan. He also demanded the government for better inter-provincial coordination about distribution of national wealth, as unfairness in services and share has been causing dissatisfaction, resentment and poverty in Balochistan, he stressed.

He urged the government not to disturb the demographic balance in the province by turning a Baloch majority into a minority in the name of economic development projects. It would increase sense of injustice which is not healthy for participatory federalism, provincial autonomy and citizenship empowerment, he highlighted.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Muhammad Mohsin Khan emphasised on the need of devolution of power to the citizens through local government. He said that true spirit of devolution of power means that power should not stop at federal or on provincial level; it must go to the citizens where it belongs.

While answering a question about performance of inter-provincial coordination mechanisms such as the Council of Common Interest, he said these institutions must fulfil their constitutional obligations in true spirit. He said that the CCI must present its annual report before the parliament as soon as possible.

He said all provinces must have close communication and coordination among themselves in order to promote better understanding of issues and problems. Danish Schools in Punjab must have students from Balochistan, he added. In addition, universities of other provinces should be in close contact with one another in order to promote community cohesion. He emphasised on the need of people to people contact by saying it is the people who weld nations together. He asked for a compassionate coordination between various units of federation. Furthermore, he said the firm and fair distribution of national resources would ensure progress and prosperity for all citizens and stop a decline towards mutual distrust and destruction.

Later on, PSGF Head Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan said that peripheral voices should necessarily be counted in the narrative of federalism to strengthen the federation. He reiterated that spectrum of inter-provincial should be extended to intra-provincial coordination through inter-human coordination across the country.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/16-Sep-2015/provincial-autonomy-must-not-be-misconstrued-as-secession

Related: 

Balochistan CM for securing provincial autonomy

December 10, 2014


QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on Tuesday said that he would make efforts to secure the provincial autonomy given to the provinces after a long struggle of parliament and all major political parties including the National Party (NP) of Balochistan. He expressed these views during the launching ceremony of various research publications under the auspices of the Chief Minister Policy Reform Unit (CMPRU). The research publications included Balochistan Mapping of Rural Settlements, State of Public Finance in Balochistan 2004-2014, Post 18th Amendment Legislative Agenda, proposed Balochistan Development Vision and Strategy and State of School Education in Balochistan. 

The research publications were prepared by a team of economists under the supervision of renowned economist Dr Kaiser Bengali who is the head of CMPRU and also serving as an adviser to the provincial government on economic affairs. The research project was co-funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Balochistan Assembly Speaker Jan Muhammad Jamali, Minister for Planning and Development Dr Hamid Achakzai, Quetta Corp Commander Lt Gen Nasir Janjua, CMPRU Policy Coordinator Dr Ishaq Baloch, Balochistan Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattha and others spoke on the occasion, while a large number of representatives from provincial institutions attended the ceremony. 

Dr Baloch, in his keynote address, appreciated the team of researchers on their remarkable work and directed the provincial chief secretary to prepare implementation strategy for these policy recommendations. He said that the 18th Amendment was a sort of silent revolution for provincial autonomy and shifted a number of responsibilities from federal government to provincial authority. “It has become the responsibility of provincial government to provide employment, social development, health, education facilities and basic infrastructure to its masses,” he added. 

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/10-Dec-2014/balochistan-cm-for-securing-provincial-autonomy


Provincial autonomy to be ensured at any cost: Rabbani


By Ijaz Kakakhel

May 15, 2015


ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Thursday pledged to assure provincial autonomy.

Referring to a recent protest by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lawmakers against Centre for allegedly depriving them of their legitimate rights, Rabbani, who is the founder of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, said he has went through the demands of the chief minister regarding the rights of his province and found them genuine. He said that the issues raised by the chief minister were of utmost importance and need to be resolved by parliament.

Out of the total 33 issues, he said nine were related to recently signed multi-billion dollar Pakistan China Economic Corridor (PCEC) projects. With directives to report back within two months, he referred the issues related to the corridor to a committee particularly constituted by the House to oversee matters pertaining to PCEC projects – as majority of the political parties are sceptical that a huge chunk of the projects could go to Punjab. The Senate chairman referred the remaining 24 issues, which also include the net hydropower profit issue, to the committees concerned of the House for deliberations and directed to submit a detailed report within two months.

Meanwhile, lawmakers headed by opposition leader Atizaz Ahsan pressed for a fairly extensive system of state-sponsored perks and privileges for their spouses and children. Referring to the benefits availed by their Indian counterparts, the opposition leader in Senate stated that the Indian MPs can even avail free air ticket even for his/her partner. He demanded equal perks and privileges for the lawmakers of both houses like those acceded to the government servants. In a written reply the law ministry informed the House that only wife and unmarried daughter of an MP can avail medical facility, which Aitzaz declared a malicious attempt by the bureaucracy to deprive the MPs of what he said were their genuine rights.

He also said that the house may go for legislation as the wives and husbands, children, and parents of the lawmakers should also be entitled to free medical treatment, air travel, etc, like the government servants. The attorney general (AG) for Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt informed the house that the law and justice ministry has said nothing objectionable or misleading rather it is law under which, the spouse and children of an MP can not avail an air ticket. Taking notice of continues absence of some federal ministers from Senate proceeding, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani today give third and last warning to such irregular ministers saying that action would be taken against them according to the law.

He said almost all questions were answered by State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab on behalf of several ministries. Though it is collective responsibility of Cabinet members, however, there were some limitations of every thing. The minister should forward cogent reason for his non-availability in Senate question hour session, the chairman maintained. Through public petition discussion, the House today suggested the federal government to consult the provinces and make arrangement for enhancement upper age limit for candidates who wish to appear in CSS competitive examination. The legislation will be applicable for the whole country. The Senate chairman also directed that the federal with consultation of provinces should check issuing of fake domicile, and report the Senate within two months period.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/15-May-2015/provincial-autonomy-to-be-ensured-at-any-cost-rabbani

‘Autonomy must for effective local governments’

December 10, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at the PILDAT ‘Inter-Provincial Roundtable on Local Government Laws’ believed that provincial laws on LG system do not provide for adequate political, fiscal and administrative autonomy,  without which local governance will remain weak. The Forum asked for a review of LG laws.

Speakers at the Roundtable included Shahid Hamid, Senior Advocate Supreme Court; Dr Arif Alvi, MNA, Chief Whip PTI in the National Assembly; Shehla Raza, MPA, Deputy Speaker Provincial Assembly of Sindh and Senator Dr Jehangir Badar. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, welcomed participants.

Speaking on the occasion, Shahid Hamid said effective local government was not possible without fiscal autonomy. Provincial governments’ role in LG system should be reduced to the level of providing policy guidelines only, adding that the current Provincial Local Government Laws provide excessive role and arbitrary powers to provincial governments. Hamid also advised against the excessive role provided for bureaucracy in the LG systems.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/10-Dec-2013/autonomy-must-for-effective-local-governments

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