HYDERABAD, June 28: Speakers at a dialogue have called for complete sovereignty for the province over its natural and financial resources to enable it to be self-sufficient in taking care of its issues.

They suggested at the dialogue on “Provincial Autonomy” organised by Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) and Actionaid at a local hotel that a new social contract should drafted for constituent units as the 1973 Constitution could neither protect itself nor could it give autonomy to the federating units.

Awami Tehrik chief Rasool Bux Palejo said that Sindhis had been subjected to excesses by different regimes and the establishment had always used people for protecting its interests and then eliminated them.

He said that autonomy and 1973 Constitution were entirely different theories and they were practically poles apart. Sindh’s basic issue was influx of outsiders which risked converting indigenous people into a minority, he said.

Barrister Zamir Ghumro said that sales tax collection should be handed over to provinces and an independent NFC should be formed for the rest of taxes. He said that without fiscal autonomy, provincial autonomy was meaningless. Under Articles 160 and 161 of the Constitution it was illegal that revenues which were to be transferred to the provinces were reflected in the federal government’s budget, he said.

Sindh Tarraqqi Pasand Party Chairman Dr. Qadir Magsi said that if today people did not play their role then there would be no Sindh after 20 years. He said that numerical strength of parliamentary seats of three provinces could not match majority enjoyed by the Punjab. He sarcastically said strength of Supreme Court judges could be increased through finance bill but a constitutional amendment was required for reinstatement of deposed judges.

He came down hard on those who sought to criticise nationalist forces. “Could any MPA and MNA today render sacrifices the way our senior nationalist leaders and workers did in the past?” he asked.

He refused to accept any autonomy based on concurrent list or present NFC Award.

Prof Mushtaq Mirani said that NFC award had always been imposed on Sindh whose attention had been diverted to other issues whereas more than 70 per cent of revenue had been diverted to non-divisible pool.

He said that Punjab always had utilisation of soft loans in its project while hard loans were diverted to Sindh. “If people didn’t learn how to study issues in the backdrop of NFC award then they will keep committing mistakes,” he said.

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