KARACHI : Speakers at a seminar titled “18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan: Hurdles in Implementation“ said on Friday that the amendment had yet to be implemented.  They said there was a lack of political will on part of the government with regard to implementation of the amendment in letter and spirit because some vested interest in the establishment did not want it implemented.

The seminar, organised by Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education’s Law Faculty, was presided over by DIHE Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi. Agha Rafique Ahmed, former judge of the Pakistan Federal Shariat Court, was chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice (r) Sarmad Jalal Usmani said that a special session of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) should be convened to discuss and point out hurdles in implementation of the amendment. He however hailed provisions of the amendment and said that it guaranteed necessary powers to provinces.

He said the 18th Amendment was passed unanimously by the parliament in 2010. It was a huge exercise as 102 of 280 articles of the 1973 Constitution were amended to develop a consensus on administrative and fiscal interests of the federation and the provinces.

Zain Sheikh, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court, said that provinces had no powers to collect taxes related to health and education and this issue caused difficulties. Incomplete implementation of 18th Amendment’s articles relating to health and education are causing problems. The amendment has a political basis too, but there is no question of waiting for expediency, Shaikh said.

Salahuddin, senior lawyer of the Sindh High Court, said it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who as a young minister in the Ghulam Muhammad government in 1954 said that some powers should be transferred to provinces, but his proposal was rejected. He said that mindset of the bureaucracy and the ruling hierarchy was the main hurdle in implementation of the amendment. A lack of coordination between federal and provincial governments was another hurdle and in fact the coordination was deliberately disrupted by the federal government perhaps at the behest of some vested interests, Salahuddin maintained.

He pointed out that after implementation of the amendment certain civil laws like marriage laws and family laws would be affected due to particular cultural and religious tradition of the society in the provinces. Therefore, he said, laws would not remain consistent all over the country.  Dr Shahana Urooj briefed the audience about the history of DIHE and its emerging law faculty. She said the seminar was part of institute’s academic pursuit.

 

 Nothing can be understood and criticised unless discussed academically, she concluded.