ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former chairman of the Senate, Mian Raza Rabbani, says the government appears to be moving towards centralisation and wants to roll back or circumvent provincial autonomy to create a presidential form of government.
Talking to media on Wednesday, he said it was the duty of parliament and judiciary, as per the 1973 Constitution, to prevent the federal executive from encroaching upon the domain of the provinces.
“The federal government continues to circumvent constitutional provisions in reference to provincial autonomy granted by the 18th Constitutional Amendment,” he said. The decision of the Cabinet Committee on Energy to reduce the life of solar and wind projects generating electricity to 15 years from 20 years was unconstitutional, Mr Rabbani added.
“The subject of electricity is Entry No 14, Part II of the Federal Legislative List of the Constitution and thus falls within the purview of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). Any policy decision by the Cabinet Committee on Energy for electricity is a clear transgression and infringement into the domain of the CCI,” he noted.
The province of Sindh, he said, was being denied its constitutional share of natural gas in violation of Article 158 of the Constitution, as a consequence of which industries were closing down and labour facing retrenchment.
Article 158 of the Constitution reads: “The Province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day”. Mr Rabbani termed the two decisions taken by the federal government an attempt to economically destabilise Sindh.
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019