It is good that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has facilitated signing of the much-awaited National Finance Commission Award. He, reportedly, played a central role in bringing consensus on important issues relating to the provinces. But Mr Sharif seems to have ignored the issue of GST collection altogether. The GST on services and resource distribution points is missing from the documents President Zardari has finally signed. Mr Sharif should remember that Punjab, being largest of all four provinces, has already rendered a sacrifice for Balochistan in this new NFC award. Now we would be deprived further of another legitimate revenue source that was a purely provincial right. This will be a severe blow to the provincial autonomy and in the new situation, the federal government would be in a position to deduct its share at source and deliver only the remaining amount to the provinces. Of course, that can be used as a powerful leverage against provinces by the federal government, if it so wishes. The process would be time consuming and the provinces, meanwhile, at the mercy of the Centre. It is interesting to note that in neighboring India, provinces collect the GST and the centre has nothing to do with its collection. I hope that Punjab Chief Minister would take up the matter with the federal government and ensure the provincial rights are fully protected as even Sindh is agitating against this arbitrary decision. -MUHAMMAD AHMAD SAAD, Lahore, March 5