No proposal to alter 18th Amendment under consideration: Marriyum Aurangzeb

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PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday said that her party was not considering alterations to the the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Earlier, sources privy to the development had told Dawn that the PML-N’s manifesto committee had received several proposals, ranging from reversing the 18th Amendment altogether to changing the distribution mechanism of financial resources among provinces.

A senior PML-N leader had confirmed that several such proposals were under consideration, including one suggesting the National Finance Commission’s (NFC) restructuring to ensure that resources transferred to provinces reach grassroots levels, i.e. local government in cities.

Prior to the publication of the report, Aurangzeb as well as Senator Irfan Siddiqui, who is heading PML-N’s manifesto committee, did not respond to Dawn’s repeated requests for comments.

The 18th Amendment, passed during the PPP-led government in 2010, devolved powers to provinces in key areas of public services, including health, women development, social welfare and local government. Under the Amendment, provinces’ share of federal resources was set at 57.5 per cent. The federal government would spend the remaining on debt servicing, development programmes, defence, etc.

In a statement issued today, Aurangzeb said: “As the secretary of the party’s manifesto committee, I deny this news; no such proposal is under consideration.”

“The chairman or secretary of the manifesto committee could have been contacted before reporting the unsubstantiated news regarding amendments to the 18th Amendment. Unfortunately, the opinion of an opposition political party was taken, but the opinion of the relevant party, PML-N, was not sought,” she said.

She said that the PML-N had always pursued a policy aimed at enhancing the resources of all units within the federation. “Looking ahead, the party intends to further augment the resources of all units, including the central government,” she said.

Speaking to following the publication of the report, Senator Siddiqui also echoed Aurangzeb’s remarks, saying that his party had neither received any proposal nor held deliberations to revisit the 18th Amendment or NFC Award.

“According to my information, this matter has never been discussed in any party meeting, nor has the party leadership given any instructions to the manifesto committee in this regard,” he said.