Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has said that democracy and a true federal system is the only panacea for survival of Pakistan and the Constitution of Pakistan is guarantor in this regard which also provides for a mechanism to protect the rights of provinces.
He emphasized that the Parliament especially the Senate will play its Constitutional role in protecting the rights of the federating units in a situation when institutions fail in fulfilling their due responsibilities.
Mian Raza Rabbani expressed these view while addressing a two day National Conference on “Federalism in Pakistan Challenges and Prospects” at Benazir Bhuttoo Shaheed University for Women in Peshawar on Wednesday. Mian Raza Rabbani pointed out that a centrist mindset is creating hurdles in the way of smooth implementation of 18th amendment and the paradigm shift introduced by the 18th amendment give more provincial autonomy. He said that true benefits of the paradigm shift brought in by the 18th amendment are yet to be reaped.
He also said that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) was given a new role under the 18th Constitutional amendment to provide the center and provinces a forum to take consensus decisions on conflicting issues. The forum, he said, could not play its due role so far. He further said that the 18th amendment also gave a mechanism for National Finance Commission (NFC) Award. Addressing the participants Mian Raza Rabbani said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his August 1947 speech termed Pakistan a progressive welfare state, however, unfortunately soon after his death the concept was overwhelmed by national security state and priorities changed accordingly.
He observed that health and education were provincial subjects, however, the center usurped their right over these subjects and when under the 18th amendment the subjects of education and health were declared provincial subjects a resistance was faced from certain quarters.
He remarked that the state deliberately wanted to promote the concept of national security state and to keep its young generation aloof from its culture and history besides producing a citizenry which is unable to question the state.
He said that such policies contributed towards intolerance in the society and a vacuum was created which was filled by terrorism and extremism. He underscored the need for academic liberty and promotion of culture of dialogue among the youth.—NNI