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Opposition Says Won’t Let 18th Amendment Be Rolled Back As Govt Suggests Changes

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    Opposition leaders have condemned Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar’s statement suggesting that the government plans to revisit the 18th amendment and National Financial (NFC) Award.

    The leaders have said that any changes to the 18th Amendment amid the coronavirus crisis would prove to be disastrous for the country. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Parliamentary Leader Sherry Rehman told The News that there was no need for touching such sensitive subjects in times of the national crisis. “We are supposed to fight the coronavirus and protect the country and our people from the pandemics and the government was busy in rumour mongering which has no base,” she added.

    The PPP senior leader Farhatullah Babar took to Twitter and questioned the sudden debate on 18th Amendment. “The 18th Amendment also ushered in a culture of political tolerance & reconciliation. It frustrated non democratic forces who exploited political parties’ mutual animosity for their vested interests.”

    President Awami National Party (ANP) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region Aimal Wali Khan said that his party would strongly oppose any attempt aimed at reducing the NFC award shares of the provinces. “We will not let anyone roll back the historic 18th Amendment which gave autonomy & rights to the provinces,” he added.

    Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader and Member of National Assembly (MNA) Mohsin Dawar said, “18th Amendment is a shining chapter in our parliamentary history. We will resist such plans & I urge all my fellow parliamentarians to do the same, history will not forgive us if the 18th Amendment is undone.”

    A private channel ARY News reported on Sunday that the federal government has decided to revisit the National Finance Commission (NFC) award and 18th Amendment.

    According to a news report published in The News, the federal government has contacted several political parties for the key changes in the NFC award and 18th Amendment. Some political parties have assured support to the Centre for the changes in the NFC award and the 18th Amendment. Moreover, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, while giving an interview to journalist Shahzad Iqbal on his show Naya Pakistan, said that some flaws have been noticed in the 18th Amendment. He said 18th Amendment was a step in right direction, but the process was incomplete.

    “The Centre doesn’t want to take back any powers from provinces neither it is the war of powers. The Centre wants to work with provinces in coordination for development of the country. All the political parties must sit together to discuss the issue,” the minister added.

    People on Twitter are criticising the federal government for trying to bring changes to such an important amendment of the constitution in times of coronavirus crisis.

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