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PESHAWAR: PPP leader and former senator Farhatullah Babar on Monday warned that the ‘muted murmurs’ about the rolling back of 18th Constitutional Amendment and changes to the National Finance Commission formula to fund ever-rising security expenditure without accountability would alienate provinces and undermine federation by pitting federating units against it.

“Disregard for the constitutionally-mandated division of powers among state institutions and the systemic weakening of parliament has already undermined the federal structure of the state,” he told an orientation programme organised by the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services for the members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly at a local hotel.

The PPP leader said the civil-military bureaucratic complex refused to answer parliamentary questions and judicial independence appeared to have become independent from the Constitution and law made by parliament.

He said the judicial independence appeared to have gone too far when an MPA was fined to raise money for dams.

PPP leader warns move will alienate provinces, undermine federation

“When parliamentary question about allotment of scores of acres of land to a retired state functionary is dismissed with an angry tweet, it only shows contempt for parliament,” he said.

Mr Babar said democracy was a process, which rested on the tripod of rule of law, transparency and accountability but only parliamentarians were subjected to microscopic scrutiny, painted black and victimised in the name of accountability.

He said accountability was critical but it would be a charade unless it was across-the-board and there were no sacred cows.

“There is not one good reason why parliamentarians, ministers, civil servants, judges and generals all paid out of state exchequer are not subjected to one and the same accountability law,” he said.

The PPP leader urged lawmakers to make full use of the constitutional bodies like the Senate, the Council of Common Interest, the National Finance Commission and the National Executive Committee to ensure protection of the rights of the federating units.

He insisted that some institutions assumed powers beyond the Constitution and were controlling the ship through backseat driving while refusing to be held accountable.

“Parliament and provincial assemblies need to press their collective wisdom and power to remove this stumbling block,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018