Differences between Sindh and Federation deepen over 18th Amendment, NFC Award

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KARACHI: Political differences between Sindh and Federation where Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaff are engaged as ruling parties respectively have been emerged clearly following the two-day visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Karachi on Wednesday and Thursday.

Imran Khan attended a number of meetings including meeting with Governor Ismail, federal Minister Ali Zaidi and other government functionaries but did not bother to invite to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at any occasion.

LARKANA (Sindh): Prime Minister Imran Khan interacting with beneficiaries during his visit to an Ehsaas Centre in Larkana on Wednesday.

Political observers comment over the sad situation that the differences are being depend which may result in more mistrust, misunderstanding and confusion.

“We came to know through media that PM is visiting Karachi on Tuesday,” Sindh CM advisor Barrister Murtaza Wahab told Dawn. “So the CM kept his schedule open, anticipating his engagements with the prime minister. But the prime minister landed here on Tuesday evening and the CM was not invited for any meeting.”

He said the provincial government was also not informed about the schedule of the prime minister’s engagements in Karachi or Larkana. It is pertinent to mention here that Sindh Government has already rejected the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Talking to journalists at Governor House, PM Khan said: “Devolution is always effective for a good governance system.”

“I have no objection to the 18th Amendment nor am I against it. But they have included several things in that reform in haste. They definitely needed to be reviewed and fixed. There are several things wrong in it [18th Amendment] and they are not practical.”

To strengthen his argument, he referred to several areas of administration which had become challenging after the 18th Amendment and the centre was helpless to fix problems in those sectors. The prime minister mentioned environment, drugs and food standardisation where the provinces were managing their regulations under their different policies creating hurdles in smooth operations in these areas.

“In the devolution system, powers are transferred from provinces to local administration,” said PM Khan. “But here we see that our local bodies don’t enjoy any power. All powers are enjoyed by the chief minister and he has become a kind of dictator. He’s not offering powers to the local administration. The effective devolution functioning requires a three-tier system but here it’s stuck in two tiers.”

The 18th Amendment, passed during the PPP government in 2010, has devolved powers to the provinces in key areas of public services, including health, women development, social welfare and local government.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has vowed to resist any move against the 18th Amendment by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government at the centre.