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Senate to reconstitute committee for the devolution process of implementation on 18th Amendment

24 April, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate has decided to reconstitute the special committee of the house on devolution to oversee the process of implementation on 18th Amendment in the Constitution and resolve unsettled issues between the federation and provinces.

The senators through a resolution have already endorsed reconstitution of the Senate Special Committee on Devolution Process and authorised Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani to nominate its members in consultation with Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and Opposition Leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan.

The committee had previously worked for three years under the chairmanship of senior PML-N leader Zafarul Haq and it had been dissolved with all committees at the expiry of the term of half of senators on March 11.

Under the 18th Amendment, passed by the parliament in 2010, a number of subjects from the concurrent list had been devolved to provinces to ensure more autonomy for federating units which had been a major demand of a number of political parties, mostly nationalist parties from small provinces.

Chairman Raza Rabbani, who was head of the then parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms, played a key role in the development of consensus among political parties on crucial issues, including devolution of various subjects to provinces.

Talking to media here on Thursday, Zafarul Haq said that the previous committee had succeeded in resolving a number of issues but there were still some issues pending between provinces and the centre.

He said the devolution was an issue of “sensitive” nature and the reconstitution of the committee would help allay fears of some of political parties which alleged that certain quarters in the country’s establishment wanted to reverse the devolution process.

When asked about the disputed matters, Zafarul Haq said all provinces did not have the capacity to run their affairs of the devolved ministries and wanted the centre to release more funds for them. He said the issues were mostly related to devolution of subjects like education, health and agriculture.

He expressed the hope that the committee would successfully resolve the pending matters between the centre and provinces.

He said the Senate chairman was still in the process of consultation for formation of the special committee on devolution process and other committees. He said the committee would have representation from all parties present in the Senate.

He also expressed the hope that other standing committees of the Senate would also be constituted during next week and soon the Senate Secretariat would start convening meetings of committees for elections of their chairmen.

The Senate has authorised the chairman to revise nominations for the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms that was formed by the speaker of the National Assembly to suggest administrative and legislative steps to empower the Election Commission of Pakistan and to make the electoral process transparent.

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