ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani Thursday said that the government in connivance with World Bank has drafted a bill to control and exercise influence over the matters related to distribution of resources which is against the spirit of Constitution and the 18th Amendment.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Fiscal Federalism’, he said that a proper mechanism was laid down and Council of Common Interests (CCI) was strengthened as a parallel institution to the federal cabinet to manage the affairs between the centre and provinces and to ensure equal distribution of resources as per the spirit of Article 172 of the Constitution.

He reiterated that strong provinces would guarantee a strong federation and there was a dire need to implement the 18th Constitutional Amendment in letter and spirit to achieve the goal of a stronger, democratic and true federalist Pakistan.

Rabbani termed the seminar a step in the right direction and hoped that the experts would formulate solid recommendations through exchange of knowledge and ideas while keeping in view the political, democratic and constitutional background in mind and the outcomes of the seminar would go a long way in achieving the desired objectives.

Hans Altherr, a guest speaker, said that some of the important questions surrounding the issue of strengthening federalism and the role of the Upper House here in Pakistan would be considered.

He said, “This seminar is the first one and we hope many such interactions with the Senate, which have been organized in close collaboration with the Senate Secretariat of Pakistan.” He added, “Pakistan has a unique federal system and journey and we by no means have the answers or aims to provide those.”

“These experiences will add some insight and inspiration to the efforts of the Senate of Pakistan to strengthen the accountability and fiscal capacity to deliver services and ultimately strengthen its democracy,” he added.

The forum of federations, he said, seeks to strengthen democratic governance by promoting dialogue and understanding of the values, practices, principles, and possibilities of federalism and decentralization.

In Pakistan, the Forum has been active since 2009 providing intellectual resources to those seeking to strengthen its federation, providing expertise in areas such as fiscal federalism, intergovernmental relations to a range of important stake holders at the highest level like the Senate of Pakistan striving to better the federation and better represent the interests for all in the Federation.

The executive director Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services considered the initiative as unique opportunity to share experiences and ideas which each other.

He said that resource distribution has always been a contentious issue in Pakistani history. He said that out of seven NFC Awards only three were actually negotiated and announced by democratically elected governments.

He said that political leadership has all the magic and wisdom to resolve various issues.

Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dr Kaiser Bengali and experts of the area also shared their views during the event.