QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) has nullified the appointment of Adviser to the Prime Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and the federal finance secretary as the National Finance Commission (NFC) members, barring them from working on the 10th NFC Award.
The BHC bench, headed by Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, also annulled the terms of reference (ToRs) issued by President Arif Alvi for the NFC and ordered implementation of the NFC rules under Article 160 of the Constitution for appointment of NFC members.
“President of Pakistan and NFC are bound to fully implement the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Hence the federal and provincial governments should utilise joint efforts in order to strengthen the federation rather than racing for a major share of NFC,” the court declared.
The BHC issued the order on Tuesday on a petition filed by Advocate Kamran Murtaza, MNA Mohammad Aslam Bhootani and Advocate Sajid Tareen.
The high court asked the Balochistan governor and chief minister to appoint a non-political individual to represent the province for 10th NFC Award. “Balochistan governor and provincial government have to appoint a non-political individual as representative of Balochistan for 10th NFC Award who has complete expertise on provincial economic woes,” the chief justice ordered.
The court observed many departments had become a provincial subject after the 18th Amendment, their expenditure had increased substantially, but due to the low GDP the federation and provinces were facing an extraordinary increase in expenditures. The order said the federation and provinces had failed to ensure financial discipline, causing an increase in the expenses.
The finance ministry notified the constitution of the 11-member NFC in May, after its approval by federal and provincial members and assent by President Alvi. However, according to the notification, the president also authorised Dr Sheikh to chair the commission’s meetings in the absence of the federal finance minister. Otherwise, there is no room for the PM’s adviser to be even a member of the commission under the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020