An Internal meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Devolution was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan at the Parliament House on Tuesday.
The Committee received a comprehensive briefing, regarding the functions, composition and past working of the Functional Committee on Devolution during the period from 2015 to 2020. Discussion on the functions of committee to firm up future work plan and working strategy was also considered in detail.
The Secretary Committee, Ms. Farhana Wagha presented a comprehensive briefing for the members on the function, role and past activities of the committee.
The Secretary Committee informed the committee that progress report in the Public Petition regarding transfer of 172 Acres of land of the PTDC located at Gadani Fish Harbor to M.K. Pakistan PVT, Ltd. Karachi in its meeting in 2018 remained on the agenda for four consecutive years.
Each committee member gave their recommendations and point of view in order to devise a workable plan for the near future to support the implementation of Devolution Scheme under the 18th Constitutional amendment to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Chairman Committee shared with the Committee members his experiences as a member of the same committee during the last three years. The Chairman Committee dismayed the fact that the devolution scheme as well as the recommendations of the functional committee on Devolution has been neglected due to various reason including limited resources and other factors at Federal and Provincial level on its implementation.
The Chairman Committee underscored the exercise of 3 –tier statutory delegation of the Devolution power in Pakistan from the Federal government to Provinces and Local government, with the purpose of making governance more efficient and responsive to public needs.
Senator Taj Haider expressed his views that further variations arise from the fact that the eighteenth amendment, which devolved the power and resources to the provinces as well as asked for effective mechanism to coordinate devolution process among the federation and the provinces. He said there is no effective mechanism responsible for overseeing devolution in the Provinces.
Senator Ejaz Ahmed Choudhary said that Local governments in all provinces are currently struggling, to varying degrees, to secure adequate resources, and administrative power needed, to fulfill their functions.
The Chairman Committee read out a copy of the letter send by the Senior Joint Secretary to the Cabinet Secretariat Islamabad stating therein that the Inter-Provincial Coordination committee is solely responsible for conducting the affairs of the Devolution and hence the same may be offering presentation to the functional committee.
The Chairman committee discussed the key working points on Devolution after the 18th Amendment of the constitution of Pakistan and a way forward. The Chairman Committee stressed the need to give preferences on building consensus instead of conflict and bridge a gap between the Provinces and the Federation.
The Chairman Committee proposed to facilitate and create an enabling environment for citizen engagement of all stake holders at various levels.
Senator Haji Hidayat ullah Khan and Muhammad Akram , proposed that the committee may give hearing to the Federal Government and the provinces on their difficulties regarding what could not be achieved under the devolution plan and proposed to hold meeting and seminars at Federal and Provincial level
The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chairman Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi who informed the committee that the Chairman Senate is considering to reach out to the provinces by holding the Senate Sessions at Provincial level. He proposed, the committee can also hold its meeting at the same time to resolve the issues of implementation of devolution in the provinces.
The Chairman Committee recommended that the Cabinet Secretariat should give a comprehensive briefing and cover all aspects from problems to lacunas and the present status quo of the Federation on the implementation of Devolution
The Chairman Committee also sought report on the recommendations of the Senate functional committee in the past six year and the implementation status of those recommendations till date.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Ejaz Ahmed Choudhary, Taj HAider, Haji HAdiyat ullah Khan, and the Secretary Committee.