ISLAMABAD-In an unprecedented way, the 27-member constitutional reforms committee of the Parliament invited proposals from civil society and lawyers bodies on the contentious issues of provincial autonomy, repeal of 17th Constitutional Amendment and other constitutional reforms. It was for the first time in the Parliamentary history of the country that any Parliamentary committee had sought suggestions from general public on the subject of constitutional amendments. The committee also elected Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Mian Raza Rabbani as unopposed chairman of the committee to revisit constitution and to remove anomalies in it including 17th Constitutional Amendment, Article 58(2)b and other contentious clauses. Talking to media persons after the meeting the chairman of the committee Mian Raza Rabbani said that they would not be examining the whole of the 1973 Constitution which was a consensus document as by doing so they would be opening the Pandoras Box. He further said that they would narrow down the scope of the committee to deal with the contentious issues like 17th Constitutional Amendment, provincial autonomy, NFC Award and parts of Article 6. To a question he expressed his optimism about reaching a consensus draft proposals of constitutional amendments to be tabled before the House. To another question he said that suggestions and proposals from civil society and lawyers bodies should be submitted to the committee by August 1, and the next meeting of the committee would be held on July 28. Mian Raza Rabbani asked all the political parties to furnish their proposed drafts for the amendments in the constitution with the committee at the earliest so that they could expedite their work. He further said that the study of these proposals would help the committee reach a consensus. Pakistan Peoples Party had prepared an 80-point draft while PML(N), MQM and PML(Q) proposals were also presented separately while some of these proposals were submitted to the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament as well. Senator Raza Rabbani said that after completing necessary preparatory work, the committee would start its regular proceedings from July 28 to give a final shape to its recommendations. The committees deliberations would not be open to media and after the meeting the chairman of the committee would brief the media persons on the deliberations, Mian Raza Rabbani further informed. Prominent among those who did not attend the opening meeting of the committee included Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan, Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, who was represented by Senator Haji Adeel, Wasim Sajjad, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Hasil Bazenjo while Prof. Khurshid was also absent and was represented by Prof. Ibrahim. PML(N) Central Leader Ishaq Dar talking to media after the committees meeting said that though both PPP and PML(N) were bound to implement Charter of Democracy in true letter and spirit, they would put the things before the committee and evolve consensus on the issues. He said that their focus should be on tackling the issues on which the parties had already consensus while the contentious issues would be taken up later. PPP Balochistan Chapter President Nawab Lashkari Raeesani said that they had joined the committee to take up the issues of smaller provinces and hoped that they would be given their due right. President of his own faction of PPP Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said that if the two main political parties really wanted to get the issues resolved then the committee would definitely succeed in its endeavour otherwise the it would turn into what he called a 'redundant entity. He said that his party wanted curtailment of Presidential powers and return the same to the Premier. His party, he said, also wanted shifting of powers from Centre to provinces.