PPP, PTI, ANP vow to thwart plans to modify 18th Amend
06 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have pledged to counter any move by the government to modify the 18th Amendment.
PPP leader in Senate, Raza Rabbani, has said that the party has started making contacts with the opposition to requisition a session of parliament on the issue.
Talking to the media outside the Parliament House on Monday, he said that the requisition for the session would be submitted after Eid. He said that Federal Minster for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has threatened to roll back the 18th Amendment and talked about altering the clause 158 of 18th Amendment which pertains to distribution of natural gas.
"If government would modify the 18th Amendment, it would be a hit on the face of federation and PPP would not allow it to do so," Rabbani added. He said that the architects of 18th Amendment from the PML-N, including Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal and Mehtab Abbasi, will be contacted and asked to convince their party in this connection.
The Awami National Party (ANP) also vowed to resist the moves of PML-N's government to "usurp the rights of provinces envisaged in 18th Constitutional Amendment". Addressing a press conference outside the Parliament House, ANP's Vice President Haji Adeel accompanied by Information Secretary Zahid Khan took strong exception to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's statement over natural resources sharing formula and termed it unconstitutional.
Haji Adeel said that the 1973 constitution envisaged first right of the province on a resource discovered in its territory. He said that Abbasi has given a statement totally against this stipulation and he should not be given representation in the cabinet if he holds such views. Adeel accused the PML-N federal government of snatching the rights of the provinces given through 18th Amendment and vowed to resist such moves.
The ANP leader also lashed out at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Imran Khan whom he accused of exerting pressure for getting results of his choice in the bye-elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. About the terrorism incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ANP leader said that the current provincial government is hiding due to fear of terrorists.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also strongly criticised the PML-N government's intentions of revising the 18th Amendment's natural resources'-sharing formula – specifically targeting of the gas-sharing formula and first rights.
According to a statement of PTI, Central Information Secretary Dr Shireen Mazari said the PML-N was part of the 18th Amendment discussions and final agreement. At the time they accepted the strengthening of the provinces control over their natural resources but it seems they were merely playing politics rather than sharing a conviction that power needed to be devolved to the provinces.