Kalabagh dam should be discussed in CCI
ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani on Saturday said if the government wants to construct the Kalabagh Dam it should take the matter to the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
Speaking at an event held in connection with the foundation day of the Senate at a local hotel, Mr Rabbani said a bureaucrat’s statements in favour of the dam were being published in the press which was not a right step because assemblies of three provinces had already passed resolutions against the construction of the dam.
Moreover, it is not appropriate for a government servant to speak about such a matter.
Rabbani says govt using bureaucrat’s statements against three provincial assembly resolutions
He said there were a number of issues and if they were brushed under the carpet history would never forgive the nation. Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and multi-nation state and the federating units should be allowed to live according to their will.
Mr Rabbani said a number of steps taken by the government were against the spirit of the Constitution and provincial autonomy. “For example, under the 18th Amendment education has been devolved to provinces but the government has established a national curriculum council in violation of the Constitution.”
He said new departments should not be created for the devolved subjects. If the government needs to discuss any issue about the curriculum, it should take it to the CCI.
He said the Senate had been playing its due role in addressing different issues.
“However, the passage of bills in the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament should be reconsidered because it deprives provinces of their right to disagree. Anything refused by the Senate can be passed in a joint session because there are more votes (members) in the National Assembly. Moreover, even if an issue is not approved by the CCI, it can be passed by a joint session. This practice is against the federation,” he contended.
He said there were some countries in which both the houses had equal votes. “We also have to do something because the current practice is against the concept of provincial autonomy,” he said.
Leader of the opposition in the Senate, Aitzaz Ahsan, said the nation was facing so many challenges such as terrorism and intolerance. So all the provinces should be treated equally, he added.
“However, even in Punjab despite the claims of good governance, there is no parity. Over Rs134 billion are being spent on development projects in Lahore but only Rs6 billion have been allocated for Faisalabad. Same is the case with other cities in the province,” he said.
“There is no parity in provinces as well. In Sindh, Rangers have been deployed and the centre. On the other hand, the centre believed that there is no need to send Rangers to Punjab despite the presence of ‘Chotu Gang’ which made a state within the state there, burning of four Christian colonies, attacks on the General Headquarters (GHQ) and Kamra Airbase,” he said.
Mr Ahsan said the Senate always played its role for better legislation. He said once a prime minister wanted to become a dictator through an amendment to the Constitution but could not get it passed from the Senate.
“The Cyber Crime Bill is still not satisfactory but it was the Senate which made 50 amendments to the bill. We proposed DNA test in rape cases though it was questioned by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),” he said.
Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said Pakistan was made on the basis of the two nation theory and this theory should be considered while making any legislation.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan said some people owned most of the resources and they forced their decisions on those who lived below the poverty line. “Super powers also say ‘Do More’ because of the same factor due to which poor countries suffer,” he said.
Director Pakistan Study Centre at the University of Karachi, Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed, said the Indian constitution speaks about the union instead of the federation because the Congress party believed in the power of the centre.
“Pakistan was made of constituting units but later there was an idea to give more powers to the centre. Coups also affected the country because the army cannot differentiate between unity and uniformity,” he said.