by: Javed Qazi, Sindh
A new National Finance Commission has been announced. Ishaq Dar has been nominated by the Punjab government to represent them. And from Sindh it is our Kaiser Bengali. It is a constitutional requirement that every five years such committee sits to set the criteria of distributing the revenues from the central pool that goes to the provinces.
The fact is that it was simply a formality sort of exercise if ever previously has been done and the criteria is always the population based. Hence Sindh receives very dismal vis a vis the amount of revenues it generates. Where as Punjab receives the more than it generates.
Not only that the eighty percent of the employees that work in the federation are from Punjab . The very federation is located in the Punjab and any development that takes place in the federal Capital, its benefits go more to the Punjab . The population of the capital has its 80 percent people from Punjab .
Even the taxes that are provincial in nature and characteristic if gauge it under the rule of law, constitutionalism for the matter under 1973 constitutions, such right has also been usurped by the central government.
If this is the spectrum it implies that Punjab and the federation is same and no one can form the government in the federation without having a support of the institutions which have predominantly a Punjab ’s representatives.
We therefore believe that it is the only reason that NFC if ever got sit together and form the distribution criterion has always failed. Gen Musharaf could not held this commission at all, which was a constitutional requirement. And the old criterion kept going.
There are three pats of the constitution by which powers of the concerned department are set. One is part one, which has natural central branches like defense, currency etc, and there is concurrent list( which was envisaged to hang up till ten years and thereafter such department had the only provincial capacity and resources and no further concurrent management from the center, but it has not been till yet) there is part two of the constitution the departments like Wapda, Railway and many shall be managed under Council of Common Interest and the senate. In other words the center can not run these on it own but it has to consult with the federating units.
No meeting of the CCI has taken place. It is not ongoing and sustainable in its nature, work as continuing operational secretariat. As the spirit of the constitution requires.
Unfortunately this government has auctioned out the seats of senate that were for Sindh. Hence first time that Sindh is not properly represented in the Senate
Now where around the world it is population the only criteria for distributing the resources.
Pakistan is not Pakistan as the 1973 constitution requires it to be.
It was Punjab that used to argue when east Pakistan was there that resources should not be distributed on population bases. And now it argues the different way.
Let us see to what extent are theses courts reflecting to the federation in true sense. We have to knock the doors of courts also.
I CALL UPON ALL FRIENDS OF PAKISTAN, PARTICULARLY OF SINDH, BALOCHISTAN AND NWFP TO HAVE A FIRST STEP IN THIS DIRECTION BY HAVING A PROTEST RALLY AND SEMINAR IN ISALAMABAD, WHEN THE FIRST MEETING OF NFC TAKES PLACE THERE. Which is expected be within a few weeks
I CALL UPON ALL CITIZENS OF SINDH TO COME FORWARD AND MAKE AN ALLIANCE AND COMMITTEE TO WAGE OUR STRUGGLE IN THIS DIRECTION. And thus we can coordinate the people of other smaller Pakistan .
Can we arrange a demonstration of thousand people in Islamabad to demand the NFC formula should be just and fair as rule of law and constitutionalism and thus the spirit of the 1973 constitution requires.
Let us make this Pakistan truly a federation. It is good for its survival and properity. Let us learn a lesson from the history.