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> Political will required for Consolidating Democratic Devolution: Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Chairman Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
IGR Workshops
January 28, 2014


January 28; Political will is required for consolidating democratic devolution and the gains achieved the historic 18th Amendment to the Constitution, said Honourable Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, MNA (NA-173, D.G. Khan III, Punjab) and Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was addressing the Workshop for CSOs and Media on the subject of Consolidating Democratic Devolution: Inter-Government Relations, Fiscal Management and Accountability, organized by PILDAT and Forum of Federations, Canada.


Institutionalisation of devolution and bringing in financial discipline in provinces are the key challenges of an unprecedented and historical devolution witnessed by Pakistan through 18th Amendment. He thanked PILDAT and FoF for providing an opportunity to learn from regional and international experiences of federalism.


The first of the series of Workshops spanned over January 28-29, 2014 started today as PILDAT and Forum of Federations (FoF), Canada have joined hands to organise a series of Training Workshops on Consolidating Democratic Devolution in Pakistan for Federal and Provincial stakeholders including the Legislators, Public Officials in the Civil Services, Civil Society Organisations and Media.


Prof. Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmad, Director Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi briefed the participants on the historical evolution of Pakistan and said that Pakistan's federalism has evolved over a long period. It has passed through different phases and has moved ahead through a series of trials and errors. It has eventually come to a point where one can say with some confidence that if it is operated both in letter and spirit, it could result in a successful and viable federalism.


Dr. Leslie Seidle, Senior Program Adviser, Forum of Federations (FoF), gave a thorough presentation on the concept of Federation and the Inter Governmental Relations in Federal Systems. He highlighted Cooperative Federalism, Inter Governmental Institutions and processes and Inter Governmental Agreements.


Mr. Ahmad M. Zahid, Former Federal Secretary, said that an overly centrist mindset poses the biggest challenge to implementing the devolution processes effectively. This was argued on the misperception of administrative capacity of the provinces also to run these activities smoothly God knows this mindset was the outcome of the provision of the Constitution of 1962 or whether those provisions were the reflection of our psyche at the time and which still haunts us.


Earlier Mr. Phillip Gonzalez, Program Manager Forum of Federations informed that the FoF supports better governance through learning among experts. It is supported by a couple of partner countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Switzerland.


Opening the workshop, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, thanked the participants and expressed his gratitude for the participation by eminent scholars, civil society activists and media persons in the workshop. Mr. Mehboob said that the objective of these workshops is what is depicted in their title Consolidation of Democratic Devolution. On Forums of Federations, he said that it is probably the most dynamic and focused inter-Governmental entity in the world working for the consolidation of federalism around the globe. PILDAT is delighted to partner with the Forum in organizing these workshops.


Later the participants were divided into two groups for small group discussions; where they were asked to come up with recommendations for Inter-Provincial Coordination and better functioning of Council of Common Interests. Dr. Waheeda Rana, Professor, International Islamic University and Ms. Asma Qamar, Researcher, The Network for Consumer Protection represented their groups for giving recommendations.

These workshops are part of the project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development of the Government of Canada.

Following Discussion Papers were also shared among participants as backgrounder on Federalism:
Historical Evolution of Federalism in Pakistan  [English Version]   [Urdu Version]

Inter-Governmental Relations in Pakistan Evolution and Potential with Relation to 18th Amendment  [English Version]   [Urdu Version]

Pakistan Fiscal Management And Accountability [English Version]