PML-N rejects report that claimed party is planning to change 18th amendment

A news report claimed that PML-N’s manifesto committee had received suggestions on overturning the 18th amendment

Senator Irfan Siddiqui sitting on the stage during the launch ceremony of his book at the Academy of Letters in Islamabad.  — online/file
Senator Irfan Siddiqui sitting on the stage during the launch ceremony of his book at the Academy of Letters in Islamabad. — online/file
  • The PML-N says the matter was “never discussed” in the meetings.
  • Maryam Aurangzeb rejects ‘false’ report on 18th Amendment.
  • The report claims that PML-N has received suggestions.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday rejected a report which claimed that the party will bring changes in the 18th Constitutional Amendment if returned to power.

PML-N’s manifesto committee chief Senator Irfan Siddiqui and party’s information secretary Maryam Aurangzeb both rejected the claims made in the report.

Senator Siddiqui, who is also a close aide of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, said, “We have not received any such recommendation.” He said that changes to the 18th Amendment were “never discussed” in party meetings.

“We reject false reports regarding changes to the 18th Amendment,” Maryam said.

A news report published in an English daily today claimed that the PML-N’s manifesto committee has received several suggestions to change the distribution mechanism of finances among the provinces, including overturning the 18th amendment.

The PML-N had formed its manifesto committee of over 33 members on November 7, with Senator Siddiqui as its chairman.

The committee was formed days after Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan as the party intensified its political activities ahead of the February 8 elections.

“There is a very strong feeling, or rather conviction, among the top leadership of the Party that the present system of distribution of financial resources among the provinces [under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution] This has created unsustainable financial problems,” a PML-N source told the publication on condition of anonymity.

“As of now, it is believed that the party will not go on to completely overturn the 18th Amendment, but it will address its key features and reshape the distribution mechanism of financial resources among the provinces. Hopefully you will see it as part of the PML-N manifesto,” the source had explained.

Two party leaders, who spoke to the publication anonymously, also confirmed the development.

“In the name of provincial autonomy, we have seen provinces being acquitted after receiving their share under the NFC award, while payment of interest and principal installments of the loan, provision of funds under the defense budget, are affected by the deficit. Affairs of national institutions, payment of current account deficit and many other financial matters become the sole responsibility of the Centre,” the PML-N leader had said.

The amendment under consideration has been widely discussed and there have been calls for changes to be made. It was passed in 2010 during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government and the party has always vowed to oppose any steps taken to change it.

The amendment transferred powers to the provinces on issues such as health, women’s development, social welfare and local government.

The amendment also defined that the provinces would receive 57.5% of the federal resources while the remaining amount would be used by the Center for debt service, development programmes, defense and other areas.

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