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Strong provinces in country’s interest: Rabbani  [The Nation] 04 May, 2017

PESHAWAR - Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Wednesday said that despite the passage of the 18th amendment, it had to be fully implemented to delegate powers to the provinces.

The 18th constitutional amendment empowers provinces but unfortunately, there is still a system in which 100 per cent power remains with the centre, he said.

As per the Constitution, 50 per cent power and resources should be with provinces and 50 per cent with the centre, he said.

The Senate chairman said this while speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day national conference on “Federalism in Pakistan: Challenges and prospects” at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar.

The coming budget will be the fourth one, which will be presented without announcing the NFC award, which he termed regrettable, adding that strong provinces are in the interest of a strong Pakistan.

He deplored that the state did not believe in academic freedom even today.

Pakistan People’s Party’s senior leader said that it was high time to sit together and convince each other through arguments and logic about our respective stance and opinions.

It is not the feature of a democratic society to impose one’s opinion on others through violence and force, he said.

He informed the audience that there were various factors which challenged and damaged dictatorship in the country and the most evident was student unions.

Coming down hard on military dictators, he said that it was Gen Ziaul Haq, who imposed a ban on student unions, unfortunately, due to which, activities of progressive and liberal forces were banned, while on other hand activities of religious and its affiliated organisations continued freely at universities and colleges.

This trend promoted a culture of intolerance in the society, he said. Such policies of dictators result in incidents like that of Mashal Khan in Mardan, he remarked.

Rabbani said that universities are the places where tolerance is developed. Universities are to promote brotherhood, where the environment of coexistence is developed, he added.

Our thinking could be different from each other, which is a requirement of a living society, but we should sit together and convince each other by arguments, he said.

However, being violent in imposing views on each other would lead to fascism, he said. It is not a thinking of a democratic society, he added.

About Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Senate chairman pointed out that the province had always been neglected in power sharing. He added that the province was also neglected in economic and political development. He deplored that following the death of Quaid-e-Azam, the very concept of the inception of the country was changed.

Besides others, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Vice Chancellor Dr Razia Sultana, Chairman International Relations Department Dr Ejaz Khan and other also spoke on the occasion.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 04-May-2017 here.

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