The 18th Amendment is far from being just another constitutional amendment; given Pakistan’s unique history it represents an important landmark in our development as a modern nation. It reversed decades of defacement done to the constitution by military dictators, converted Pakistan into a Parliamentary Republic as opposed to a Presidential one, and finally, to emphasize and entrench the changes made, it devolved several ministries from the federal level to the provincial level.

The changes are vast and adjusting to them is surely difficult, but the amendment remains a monumental achievement and the bedrock of our aspirations as a country going into the future.

It is with this context firmly in mind we should approach any discussion regarding the amendment. Recently, the amendment has been attacked by various quarters in the political sphere – mostly using it to demonise political parties who run provincial governments – while more troubling narratives, demanding it be reversed to give the federation more control and revenue, have also been put forward. While the majority of these narratives are opportunistic and populist ones, we must not drop our guard when discussing this important piece of legislation.

Hence it is appreciable that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the 18th amendment is beyond question during a recent case determining whose jurisdiction certain medical institutes fall under. The specific interpretation of the amendment is the job of the apex court, and it has discretion with regards to the legal questions it grapples with, as long as they are all being considered within the ambit of this legislation.

It is hoped that this clarification by the apex court puts to rest any doubts that might have been created by what can only be described as a misinterpretation of the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) comments. At no point did the court cast aspersion on the contents of the 18th amendment.