Islamabad - Without carrying out bureaucracy reforms, the 18th amendment will not bring any tangible change in the power structure of the governance of the country, said Dr Mohammad Waseem on Friday.

“The 18th amendment requires strengthening of the provincial civil service and it demands capacity building of all the provincial institutions and it would not be possible without carrying out due reforms in the structure of civil services,” said Dr Mohammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) who was speaking during an event organised by the Pakistan Study Group on Federalism at the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Dr Waseem opined that Pakistan’s Senate represents all the provinces but cannot affect any concrete policy making as it does not have the authority to pass money bill whereas Senates in the US and Brazil are powerful enough in debating and passing the money bills. There is asymmetrical policy scope of the two houses - Senate and National Assembly, he said.

The speaker observed that federalism in Pakistan is the case of ethnic federalism where minorities and ethnic communities are excluded from the mainstream politics; Punjab dominates the mainstream narratives; it has caused Punjabisation of Pakistan.

The 18th amendment has given the provinces a viable autonomy yet the limited infrastructural capacity of provinces hampers the dispensation of power at the grassroots level, he deplored.

Dr Waseem said that 7th NFC Award gives fiscal autonomy to the provinces but centre still controls the strings of purse; this is the reason it still dominates the policy-making in the centre. “Certain elements in the establishment do not want devolution of the resources to the grassroots level; if resources are devolved to the provinces then there will be fewer resources available to the establishment,” he added.

Pointing out the weaknesses of the 18th amendment, he said that Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has not been integrated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

There are no provisions in the 18th amendment for the accountability of the security agencies and setting up of a Federal Constitutional Court.

Dr Waseem said that India after partition accommodated “cultural and linguistic” identities and created new provinces on the basis of these elements whereas Pakistan undermined the diversity and established its state structure on religion.

Responding to a question, Dr Waseem said that provinces are reluctant to hold local bodies’ elections and this is an epic case of “centralised decentralisation”. Local bodies system is important for the true democratisation of the country.

According to him, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is still lurking in the constitutional vacuum as it has no effective representation in the parliament. “People of the GB want reintegration into the political system of Pakistan,” he added.