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> The Workshop will help Parliamentarians learn and understand the process of Devolution in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment: Honourable Syed Naveed Qamar, Member National Assembly of Pakistan
IGR Workshops
February 20, 2014


February 20; These Workshops help us understand the details of the issue and give us a comparative picture regionally and internationally. It is too early to tell what we have achieved post 18th Amendment, since some important steps have been taken and some steps still need to be implemented said Honourable Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA (NA-222, Hyderabad-V, Sindh, PPPP).


He was addressing a two day Workshop on Consolidating Democratic Devolution in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment for the Honourable Members of National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan that started in Bhurban today.


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.


Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Ikram Ul Haq, Advocate Supreme Court and International Tax Counsel, said that in the fiscal arena, Pakistan presents a story of failure with fiscal deficit increasing; debt burden on the rise; uncontrolled expenses; non-devolvement of fiscal responsibility; low tax to GDP ratio and no providing of universal entitlements by the State. In order to consolidate gains of devolution, provinces have to be aware of their taxation rights. Fiscal empowerment of provinces in real sense is needed by giving them the right to tax goods and services within their boundaries. However, he added, provinces, in turn, must empower elected Local Governments.


Professor Dr. Aisha Ghaus-Pasha, Director Institute of Public Policy, briefed the participants on Fiscal Management and Accountability in Pakistan. She briefed the participants on Constitutional provisions and explained that every citizen has the right to have access to information. She explained constitutional entities and their working and composition. She further explained the Budget cycle and resource distribution among provinces. In the end, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha gave recommendations on fiscal management and transparency. She suggested that borrowing powers of Provincial Governments should continue to be restricted. The Federal Right to Information Act must include provision for setting up a high powered (powers of a Civil Court) Federal Information Commission.There should be a ceiling on growth rate annually on charged expenditure and discretionary funds must be abolished. She also favoured discontinuation of the practice of development funds for Parliamentarians. She also recommendedthe NAB must be required to submit an Annual Report to the National Assembly.


Earlier Mr. Pietro Merlo, Senior Advisor Forum of Federations (FoF), termed the Workshop topic as an essential asset for a stable, just and peaceful Pakistan. He said that the two day workshop will cover important grounds related to Inter Government Relations and fiscal accountability and transparency. The participants of the Workshop will collectively investigate and discuss various dimensions of Inter Government Relations and Fiscal Management. These discussions will provide an opportunity to learn from the international and regional experiences. He thanked PILDAT to partner with Forum of Federations (FoF) to organise these series of Workshops.


Mr. Faheem Ahmed Khan, Projects Manager PILDAT extended a special warm welcome to the Honourable Chief Guest, Syed Naveed Qamar for accepting the invitation to Chair the Session. He also welcomed the Honourable Members of National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan despite their numerous engagements have taken the time out to participate in today’s workshop. He hoped that all the resources provided in the Workshop will be helpful to the Public Representatives in better understanding the context and issues of Federalism in Pakistan and in the discharge of their duties.


Parliamentarians who joined the Workshop included: Honourable Mr. Sajid Nawaz, MNA (NA- 3, Peshawar-III, KP, PTI), Honourable Mr. Siraj Muhammad Khan, MNA (NA-6, Nowshera-II, KP, PTI), Honourable Mr. Salim Rehman, MNA (NA-30, Swat-II, KP, PTI), Honourable Mr. Iftikhar Uddin, MNA (NA-32, Chitral, KP, APML), Honourable Mr. Bismillah Khan, MNA (NA-43, Tribal Area-VIII, FATA, IND), Honourable Malik Ihtebar Khan, MNA (NA-58, Attock-II, Punjab, PML-N), Honourable Malik Shakir Bashir Awan, MNA (NA-70, Khushab-II, PML-N), Honourable Mr. Talal Chaudrhy, MNA (NA-76, Faisalabad-II, Punjab, PML-N), Honourable Rana Mohammad Afzal, MNA (NA-82, Faisalabad-VIII, Punjab, PML-N), Honourable Molana Ameer Zaman, MNA (NA-263, Loralai, Balochistan, JUI-F), Honourable Mrs. Khalida Mohsin Qureshi, MNA (NA-281, Punjab- IX, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Maiza Hameed, MNA (NA-290, Punjab- XVIII, PML-N), Honourable Mrs. Shaheen Shafiq, MNA (NA-292, Punjab- XX, PML-N), Honourable Mrs. Naeema Kishwer Khan, MNA (NA-327, KP VII, JUI-F), Honourable Ms. Aisha Saeed, MNA (NA-329, KP-VIII, JI), Honourable Mrs. Shahida Rehmani, MNA (NA-308, Sindh – I, PPPP), Honourable Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA (NA-334, Karachi, Sindh, PML-N), Honourable Mr. Lal Chand Malhi, MNA (NA-339, Umerkot, Sindh- VII, PTI) and Honourable Senator Farah Aqil (ANP, KP), Honourable Senator Dr. Mohammad Jehangir Badar (PPPP, Punjab), Honourable Senator Nisar Mohammad Khan, (PML-N, KP), Honourable Senator Afrasiab Khattak, (ANP, KP), Honourable Senator Hamayun Khan Mandokhel (IND, Balochistan), Honourable Senator Saeed Ul Hassan Mandokhel,(Balochistan, PML), Honourable Senator Khalida Parveen (PPPP, Punjab) and Honourable Senator Zafar Ali Shah (PML-N, ICT).


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