QUETTA: As expected, the Sindh Governor has refused the sign the anti-NAB bill of the Sindh Assembly and returned it to the Sindh Government for a review.
The Sindh Governor was appointed on this post belonging to the ruling PML-N and with a strong mindset of strongest centre with all powers on earth and weakest provinces with no powers at all. It is also regretted that he was formally briefed by the Chief Minister about the proposed law before it was tabled and passed.
Now the Sindh Government will review of the proposed bill as the Governor resisted the move to approve it a law and make Sindh a more autonomous provinces at least dealing against corruption and corrupt practices. There is a wrong notion among all the anti-Sindhi elements that every Sindhi is corrupt, dishonest and thus they should punished without any discrimination.
Sindh Chief Minister regretted the Governor’s move to return the law passed by the Sindh Assembly. He will discuss the law with his legal experts and present it before the Sindh Assembly for approval on the second time to embarrass the Governor.
There is a misleading notion in a section of our population that it was the Federation that generously granted powers to the provinces by considering them as administrative units and they are all subservient to the stronger central Government. Many refuse to concede that Pakistan is a voluntary federation and formed by the Federating Units. They still believed that they achieved Pakistan by chanting slogans in UP, CP and Bihar. They also ignored that Balochs and Pakhtuns fought militarily the British colonialism for over a century for kicking the British forces out of the Sub-continent.
Basically, the concept of Pakistan was in the air and it was Sindh that made it possible and a reality to create a new state as it agreed to join the Federation and surrender some its administrative and constitutional powers and not its identity. It was followed by Muslim Bengal and later on other provinces.
KPK joined Pakistan following a referendum. Punjab was under the pro-India Unionists and it was the last unit that joined Pakistan. Historic Balochistan had a separate story on this issue.
Thus Pakistan was made a Federation by the Federating Units or the so called Muslim Majority areas of undivided India. Pakistan Resolution is a strong proof of this argument that it is a voluntary Federation of Sindh, Bengal, Balochistan, KPK and the Punjab. The Pakistan Resolution pledged to retain Pakistan as a Federation where the Federating Units will be ‘independent and sovereign’ under the framework of one Pakistan. It clearly committed that the Central Government will refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the provinces or the Federating Units.
It was the stronger bureaucracy comprising of Indian Civil Service officials from Muslim minority areas of undivided India who staged a coup de grace with the help of all allied forces and unceremoniously dislodged the popular political leadership from power.
Since then, Pakistan is a colony of the bureaucracy dictating powers to all elected Governments at the centre and in the provinces. After seizing power, the bureaucrats misruled this country using arbitrary powers in running the State of Pakistan. They planned to usurp the legitimate rights of the Bengali people by denying them majority and formed the notorious One Unit eliminating the Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan from the map of Pakistan. It was an offence against the security and stability of Pakistan creating ill will.
Since then, Pakistani Federation is converted into a unitary form of Government with a very strong central Government to rule the country, preferably under Martial Laws with regular intervals. There was a massive resistance to this move of the strong bureaucracy and there were protests in all parts of Pakistan, including in East Pakistan, for political and national rights of the Federating Units.
When the bureaucracy was convinced that East Pakistan is ungovernable, it decided to use massive force to expel Muslim Bengal from rest of Pakistan. A former Chief Justice of Pakistan who was the special emissary of the military Junta to hold talks with the Bengali leaders narrated the whole story in his book “From Jinnah to Zia.”
Thus there is an unending war between the strong central Government of Pakistan and the Federating Units seeking more autonomy and reducing the arbitrary powers of the Central Government.
Bhutto framed a new constitution with the help conservative and reactionary forces and imposed the 1973 Constitution under the cover of Islam denying legitimate provincial autonomy to the smaller and weaker Federating Units, including Sindh and Balochistan.
However, majority members from Balochistan—mainly Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch and Mrs. Jennifer Musa—the three stalwarts of defunct NAP had not signed the 1973 Constitution.
It was considered as a veto from Balochistan. It unnerved the rulers who, in complete panic, announced that the Concurrent List of the Constitution will be made part of the provincial list in ten years. This pledge satisfied the people and representatives of Balochistan to some extent.
General Zia seized the power through a military coup and ruled Pakistan for 11 long years sending the issue of autonomy to the back burner for decades and not years. After 30 long years, the 18th Amendment restored some provincial rights which the real rulers hate it to this date as they are opposed to the concept of genuine Federalism and autonomous Federating Units within Pakistan.
Sindh is exercising the right to frame laws with a clear concept to make the provinces stronger and effective to rule or autonomous under the Constitution. There are genuine complaints against the NAB that went too far in undermining the rights of the provincial governments. Bullies were sent to the provinces under the orders from Pervez Musharraf.
NAB was established by General Pervez Musharraf to impose his political will at all cost. His entire rule was controversial and his laws and orders were anti-people. Thus the existence of NAB is controversial. It is better that the Central Government wind it up allowing the Provinces to frame their own laws dealing with corruption or in the more wider sense of law and order.
It is the right of the Federating Units to contain the growing powers of the Central Government making the Provinces autonomous and stronger to defeat the concept of ‘remote control’ and ‘undemocratic centralism’.
The NAB is laying greater emphasis on recovery of a part of money embezzled and not attacking the roots of corruption. Senior NAB officials were found happy recovering a couple of billion in 15 long years. Even Afghanistan had sent some of its corrupt officials to 20 years of jail while NAB is involved in plea bargain and recovery of insignificant amount of embezzled money. It was found in slogan mongering that taking concrete efforts to curb and contain rampant corruption that is rising with every passing day. The most notoriously corrupt are considered as ‘sacred cows’ or ‘untouchables’.
Only indigenous people are competent enough to curb corruption in their society. NAB comprising overwhelmingly alien officers having no roots in the traditional society and people and enjoying zero trust are incompetent to curb corruption effectively.
Thus the Provinces should be allowed to establish and promote their own institutions and replace the NAB, an organ of the Central Government, from all provinces. It is the real spirit of Provincial autonomy making the Federating Units strong, effective and vibrant in the democratic dispensation.