PPP calls for withdrawal of ‘illegal’ NFC notification

Updated 18 May 2020

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PPP warns of further steps, but says will wait for the govt's reply first. — AFP/File
PPP warns of further steps, but says will wait for the govt's reply first. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the constitution of the 10th National Finance Com­mission (NFC), the Pakistan Peoples Party called upon the government on Sunday to immediately withdraw its notification.

Dr Nafisa Shah, the PPP’s information secretary, made the appeal while speaking at a news conference at the party’s media office. Palwasha Khan and senator Rubina Khalid accompanied her.

Dr Shah described the formation of the commission as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Referring to the terms of reference spelt out in the notification, she said most of these issues should be discussed at other constitutional forums, such as the Council of Common Interest (CCI).

Dr Shah alleged that the government had announced numerous financial amnesty schemes just to “ please its cronies”. The first beneficiary of the first amnesty was Aleema Baji, the prime minister’s sister”.

She said they would wait for a reply from the government before taking any future step. She said the party would hold in-house discussions and consultations with the lawyers for devising the future strategy.

Later talking to Dawn, the PPP leader said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had already written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan over the NFC and her party was awaiting a reply. “We will wait for a reply from the government before taking any step, “ she said.

The party would hold in-house discussions consultations with its lawyers for thrashing out a strategy, Dr Shah added.

She criticised President Dr Arif Alvi for issuing what she called the controversial notification. “This president has a history of taking unconstitutional steps and issuing unpopular ordinances”.

She cited as examples the appointment of members of the Election Commission and sending of references against judges of the apex courts. Dr Shah alleged that instead of representing the unity of the federation, “the presidential palace has become a place of conspiracies.”

The opposition parties had discussed the option of bringing an impeachment motion against President Dr Arif Alvi a few weeks ago and a senior PPP member told Dawn that the option could still be considered and discussed with other opposition parties.

Senator Raza Rabbani had already raised a legal objection to the NFC’s constitution and observed that the notification was flawed.

Quoting Article 160(1) of the Const­itution, Mr Rabbani had objected to the inclusion of the Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the NFC.

Mr Rabbani , a former Senate chairman, had argued it was not within the competence of the president to authorise a non-member to preside over the meetings of the NFC in the absence of the federal finance minister. Aslam Bhootani, an independently-elected MNA from Gwadar in Balochistan, and an ally of the ruling PTI, had last week protested the nomination of a former federal minister ,Javed Jabbar ,as NFC member from the province. He said during session of National Assembly that Mr Jabbar knew nothing about Balochistan and called upon President Alvi to de-notify him .

He said he would take the matter to a court.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2020