LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rejects Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision of subtracting three per cent share of provinces from the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and giving the amounts to those Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) districts that have been merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This was declared by Sindh PPP president Nisar Khuhro while addressing the concluding session of the two-day ‘Reap Rice Conference 2018’ and later a party workers’ meeting here on Tuesday.
Mr Khuhro described the decision as “unconstitutional” saying that the Constitution permitted only enhancement in the provinces’ shares in the NFC Award.
He advised the federation to cut its own share if it wanted to help the Fata districts. “Smaller provinces [cannot] afford this [cuts],” he stated in categorical terms, adding: “We will oppose it tooth and nail.”
The senior PPP leader said that the decision was not only unconstitutional, but also a dictatorial one which was in contravention of the spirit of provincial autonomy.
He alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was out to financially weaken provinces instead of making them stronger.
The PM’s decision to make cuts in provinces’ share is “robbery” on the rights and resources of provinces, according to him.
Mr Khuhro reminded the government that Sindh was the biggest revenue contributor to the federal pool but it had always been denied its due share in NFC Awards in the past. He cautioned that the fresh decision to make cuts would further weaken smaller provinces’ financial position.
Mr Khuhro also referred to the “theft” of Sindh’s share in the Indus water and said this was the major reason for persisting water shortage in the province.
“From Taunsa to Guddu, a huge volume of water is being diverted with big lifting machines. Unfortunately, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) is sitting silent,” he claimed, and asked the water commission to intervene in the matter.
He observed that acute water shortage and late arrival of flows in Sindh had drastically affected the rice crop. “The end users are growers who suffer the most,” he added. He said farmers were compelled to buy hybrid seeds at higher rates amidst water shortage hence they were facing double loss.
Rice crop and its quality
The Sindh PPP chief called for introducing one-window operation for the establishment of rice mills and related units. He said millers should come forward in this regard. He stressed the need for applying modern methodologies in polishing, finishing etc so that quality rice varieties should have more acceptance in the international market.
He called for evolving a “stakeholders’ forum” to properly and effectively monitor and address all rice-related issues.
Turning to the cases and references against PPP leaders, activists and supporters, Mr Khuhro said it was not the first time the PPP was experiencing such difficult days; PPP braved victimisation in past [during Benazir Bhutto’s days] as well. Asserting that all this was not because of Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he confidently stated that the party would surmount this “fresh wave of victimisation as it did in the past bravely”.
PTI termed Musharraf’s B-team
Nisar Khuhro in unequivocal terms stated that the controversial Kalabagh dam would not be allowed to be built. He said Quaid-i-Azam’s Muslim League was divided in seven factions and [ousted PM Nawaz Sharif’s] Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) met with the same fate but PPP survived against all ups and downs over the past 50 years as it was still one and undivided.
Terming PTI “the B-team of [former military ruler] General Pervez Musharraf, he said the party lacked the planning to run the country’s affairs. In its 100 days, PTI could bring about no change except for the skyrocketing prices of common commodities, fuel and utilities.
He claimed that due to the prime minister’s U-turn on his every stand, foreign countries were sending him back with empty begging bowel.
Mr Khuhro said the recent attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi was a conspiracy against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and observed that there was some progress in the investigation into the terrorist attack.
He welcomed the Supreme Court chief justice’s call for a campaign regarding controlling population.
Larkana Mayor Aslam Shaikh and other PPP leaders including Khair Mohammad Shaikh and Shakeel Memon also attended the programme.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018