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> Pakistan a Stronger Federation through 18th Amendment: Honourable Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Speaker, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab
IGR Workshops
February 18, 2014


February 18; Pakistan is a stronger Federation, even though the provinces are facing challenges but they have resilience said the Speaker Punjab Assembly Honourable Rana Mohammad Iqbal while addressing the two day Workshop on Consolidating Democratic Devolution in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment at Bhurban today. He thanked the Members of the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for attending the Workshop and hoped that they will get an opportunity to learn from the resources provided in the Workshop.


He said that PILDAT’s long term contribution and efforts in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions and especially its contribution in highlighting that more powers should be allocated to the provinces is applaudable. The Honourable Speaker said that Pakistan is passing through a tough phase of terrorism, poverty and energy crisis but we are ready to counter these challenges. He welcomed the guests from Canada and thanked the eminent speakers of the Workshop.


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.


Mr. David Albert Peloquin, Consultant, Forum of Federations, briefed the participants on Inter Governmental Relations in Federal countries. He gave a comparative analysis of myths and practices in the process of Federalism and Fiscal Management. He was of the viewpoint that Pakistan (like many other countries) is no stranger to major regional disparities in income and wealth (and in access to private goods and services they procure). Decentralization to the provincial/local level can increase disparities in access to public goods and services as well.


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.


Mr. Ahmad M. Zahid, Former Federal Secretary, said that an overly centrist mindset poses the biggest challenge to implementing the devolution processes effectively. This was argued on the misperception of administrative capacity of the provinces also to run these activities smoothly God knows this mindset was the outcome of the provision of the Constitution of 1962 or whether those provisions were the reflection of our psyche at the time and which still haunts us.


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. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT extended a special warm welcome to the Honourable Chief Guest, Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Speaker Punjab Assembly, for being gracious to accept the invitation despite his preoccupations as the Acting Governor of the largest Province of Pakistan. Mr. Mehboob said that the Honourable Speaker has always been a source of strength for PILDAT in reaching out to Honourable MPAs and to organise workshops. He also welcomed the Honourable Members of the Provincial Assemblies of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who, despite their numerous engagements in their constituencies and relating to the Assembly business, have taken the time out to participate in today’s workshop.


The objective of these workshops is what is depicted in their title – Consolidation of Democratic Devolution. This is an effort to understand the issues which still remains post 18th amendment and try to analyse and suggest ways to address them learning from International experiences. PILDAT is delighted to partner with the Forum in organizing these workshops. Forum of Federations is probably the most dynamic and focussed inter-governmental entity in the world working for the consolidation of federalism around the globe. 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.

Later the participants were divided into four groups for small group discussions and were asked to come up with important points on what they learnt from today’s workshop and how does it apply on their experiences.

Sardar Waqas Hassan Mokal, MPA (PP-180, Kasur-VI, PML) represented Group I; Mr. Ali Salman, MPA (PP-168, Sheikhupura-Cum-Nanakana Sahib-I, IND) led Group II of the Group Discussion Session; Mr. Inayat Ullah Lak, Director General, Parliamentary Affairs & Research, Punjab Assembly represented Group III while Mr. Wajeeh Uz Zaman, MPA (PK-56, Mansehra-IV, PML-N) led Group IV for the presentation on suggestions and recommendations.

The participants who joined the Workshop from Punjab Assembly include Honourable Dr. Alia Aftab, MPA (W-338, PML-N), Honourable Mr. Ramesh Singh Arora, MPA (NM-368, PML-N), Honourable Mr. Muhammad Arif Abbasi, MPA (PP-13, Rawalpindi-XIII, PTI), Honourable Dr. Waseem Akhtar, MPA (PP-271, Bahawalpur-V, JI), Honourable Mr. Naeem Safdar Ansari, MPA (PP-177, Kasur-III, PML-N), Honourable Mrs. Shameela Aslam, MPA (W-312, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Irum Hassan Bajwa, MPA (W-344, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Azma Zahid Bukhari, MPA (W-318, PML-N), Honourable Chaudhry Abdur Razzak Dhillon, MPA (PP-33, Sargodha-VI, PML-N),Honourable Mr. Ahmed Ali Khan Dreshak, MPA (PP-243, Dera Ghazi Khan-IV, PTI), Honourable Ms. Lubna Faisal, MPA (W-332, PML-N), Honourable Mr. Ehsan Riaz Fatyana, MPA (PP-58, Faisalabad-VIII, IND), Honourable Ms. Rahila Khadim Hussain, MPA (W-345, PML-N), Honourable Rana Munawwar Hussain, MPA (PP-36, Sargodha-IX, PML-N), Honourable Chaudry Nazar Hussain, MPA (PP-27, Jehlum-IV, PML-N), Honourable Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, MPA (PP-179, Kasur-V, PML-N), Honourable Dr. Najma Afzal Khan, MPA (W-320, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Nabeela Hakim Ali Khan, MPA (W-358, PTI), Honourable Mr. Ameer Muhammad Khan, MPA (PP-47, Bhakkar-I, PML-N), Honourable Sardar Shahabuddin Khan, MPA (PP-263, Layyah-II, PPPP), Honourable Mr. Ahmed Shah Khagga, MPA (PP-229, Pakpattan-III, PML), Honourable Mr. Muhammad Jahanzaib Khan Kichi, MPA (PP-239, Vehari-VIII, PTI), Honourable Ms. Faiza Ahmed Malik, MPA (W-362, PPPP), Honourable Sardar Bahadur Mekhan, MPA (PP-38, Sargodha-XI, PML-N), Honourable Sardar Waqas Hassan Mokal, MPA (PP-180, Kasur-VI, PML), Honourable Ms. Surriya Naseem, MPA (W-322, PML), Honourable Mr. Kazim Ali Peerzada, MPA (PP-273, Bahawalpur-VII, PML-N), Honourable Dr. Murad Raas, MPA (PP-152,Lahore-XVI, PTI), Honourable Engineer Qamar Ul Islam Raja, MPA (PP-5, Rawalpindi-V, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Saadia Sohail Rana, MPA (W-355, PTI), Honourable Ms. Lubna Rehan, MPA (W-340, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Shunila Ruth, MPA (NM-371, PTI), Honourable Mr. Ali Salman, MPA (PP-168, Sheikhupura-Cum-Nanakana Sahib-I, IND), Honourable Mr. Muhammad Yaqub Nadeem Sehti, MPA (PP-175, Kasur-I, PML-N), Honourable Chaudry Tahir Ahmed Sindhu, MPA (PP-30, Sargodha-III, PML), Honourable Syed Tariq Yaqoob, MPA (PP-117, Mandi Bahauddin-II, PML-N) while the MPAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly participating in the Workshop include Honourable Mr. Mehmood Jan, MPA (PK-7, Peshawar-VII, PTI), Honourable Ms. Aamna Sardar (WR-14, PML-N), Honourable Ms. Maliha Tanveer, MPA (WR-5, PTI) and Honourable Mr. Wajeeh Uz Zaman, MPA (PK-56, Mansehra-IV, PML-N).

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]