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Balochistan opposition vows to resist move against 18th Amendment

Balochistan opposition vows to resist move against 18th Amendment

QUETTA: Opposition parties in Balochistan have warned the federal government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf against any move to amend the 18th Amendment.

Addressing a joint press conference on Friday evening, leaders of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, National Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and Jamiat Ahle Hadith said that if the centre moved ahead with its plan to deprive the provinces of their constitutional rights by rolling back the 18th Amendment they would demand formation of a new constitution.

“We will not accept any reduction in the share of small provinces in the 10th NFC Award,” they declared.

The opposition leaders criticised the federal government for not presenting the terms of reference of the National Finance Commission to the Council of Common Interests.

They alleged that it was an attempt to deprive the small provinces of their rights.

Former Balochistan chief minister and PPP leader Aslam Raisani said the attitude of the federal government had enhanced the sense of deprivation of the small provinces, so “we have decided to approach the court of law”.

“People in Islamabad have been accusing people of Balochistan of being involved in mass corruption. If that is true they should move the Supreme Court or National Accountability Bureau against such people. Balochistan should get additional two per cent from the centre’s share as the province has remained in the grip of terrorism,” he added.

PkMAP leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal expressed concern over nomination of former federal minister Javed Jabbar as a private member to represent Balochistan at the NFC. He said Mr Jabbar knew nothing about economic, geographic and social realities of Balochistan because he did not belong to the province.

Mr Ziaratwal demanded withdrawal of the nomination of Javed Jabbar and said: “We have several economists who are competent enough to defend our case at the NFC.”

He said Balochistan should not be considered an orphan province. “If the centre cuts the share of provinces in the NFC Award, it would be considered a violation of the Constitution.”

Former provincial finance minister Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel said that Balochistan should receive its share from the centre according to its landmass.

He said the downtrodden province could not bear a reduction in its due share of the NFC Award.

Provincial Secretary General of PML-N Jamal Shah Kakar said the centre should increase representation of Balochistan in the National Assembly.

“The incompetent federal government has been increasing the sense of deprivation of Balochistan,” he alleged.

Ali Madad Jattak, Maulana Asmatullah and Ali Ahmed Langove also addressed the press conference.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2020

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