KARACHI - Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani yesterday criticised the establishment for denying due autonomy to the provinces and stressed the need for across the board accountability.

He said the establishment was trying to snatch the rights guaranteed to the people by the 18th Amendment in the Constitution, which was also a bulwark against the martial law.

“For three years now, no NFC Award has been granted to the provinces. There seems no hope of change in future either,” he told the media after addressing a seminar titled ‘Challenges for provincial autonomy laws after 18th amendment’ at National Institute of Management.

Rabbani said that constitution of Pakistan provides for trichotomy of powers, and all the three prime institutions i.e. judiciary, executive and legislature must work within their constitutional limits.

He said the constitution is supreme, all state institutions must follow it in letter and spirit, and none of them should unconstitutionally interfere in other’s mandated domain.

He said that implementation of the 18th amendment will become impossible due to unconstitutional moves being taken. It is because of this that “currently nothing is going right in the country”. This amendment however stands as a barrier against martial law in the country, he added.

Senate chairman said a negative propaganda was being run against the politicians, and called for across the board accountability. “If we need to have meaningful accountability then it must strictly be impartial and across the board.”

The veteran politician stressed there should be one law for politicians, judges and generals, and everyone should be held accountable under the same law.

He said it was unfortunate that a military dictator (General Pervez Musharraf) ran away from the country and the state could not bring him to justice.

When a questioner asked for his comment on the accountability hearings of Sharif family, Rabbani said that he cannot comment on the matter because of his position of Senate chairman.

He said that basic objective of creation of Pakistan was to have a welfare state, but unfortunately the system developed by Quaid-e-Azad had been destroyed.

He said the fourth of the 14 points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah is about provincial autonomy, adding that it was important for the country that general elections were held on time.

Senate chairman said that during the democratic governments including that of PPP’s, no attention was paid on education and health sectors.