Senator Raza Rabbani warns against proposal to make Karachi a province

Pakistan People's Party Senator Raza Rabbani addressing the Senate session.  - nni/file
Pakistan People’s Party Senator Raza Rabbani addressing the Senate session. – nni/file
  • Senator Rabbani says the state should learn from the mistakes of the past.
  • Warned that census will not be possible on constitutional issues.
  • He said that suggestions are being made again to withdraw the 18th amendment.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator Raza Rabbani on Monday slammed the vice-chairman of the Senate for suggesting that Karachi be made a separate province and warned that “tampering” with the 1973 constitution would be a “disaster”.

“The creation of new provinces is strongly opposed on historical, linguistic and ethnic grounds,” the former Senate president said in a statement. He stated that the creation of provinces on an administrative basis was done by the state to counter “provincial autonomy demands and nationalist movements”.

Senator Rabbani said, “During the Musharraf regime it was implemented to some extent through local bodies, but it failed.”

He said that suggestions are being made again “to withdraw the 18th amendment and impose President’s rule”.

The senator urged, “The state must learn from the mistakes of the past and even more so from the recent past.”

He also warned that “any tinkering with the constitution” would be a disaster as “a national census on constitutional issues, especially provincial autonomy, would not be achieved”.

He further warned that it would “also create political instability which in turn would lead to greater economic instability”.

Karachi should be made a separate province: Senator Afridi

Rabbani’s statement came after Senate Vice President Mirza Muhammad Afridi suggested carving out nine more provinces, including Karachi, as a solution for better governance.

In an interview, the senator recommended the creation of three provinces each in Balochistan and Punjab, two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and one in Sindh.

Afridi, an independent legislator, said KP’s Hazara district and tribal areas (formerly FATA) should be made separate administrative units.

“The more provinces Pakistan has, the better. If new provinces are formed in the country, the problems will be solved,” said Mirza Afridi.

When asked how the resources would be shared, he said that after the 18th amendment, the provinces would continue to get their share.

Stating that if new provinces are created, they will continue to get a share under the NFC (National Finance Commission) award, the senator lamented that the government has not kept promises made to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

“Even today the people of Phata have many concerns and are facing difficulties,” the MLA said.

Afridi further said that he has also raised the issue of the fund with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

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