Islamabad (September 19, 2017): In a bill tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has sought the distribution of the National Finance Commission (NFC) award between districts on the basis of their respective populations.
The MQM ostensibly seeks a greater share of resources for urban Sindh, which has a markedly higher population density than other areas of the province but has struggled to cope with administrative issues at the local level.At the moment, provincial governments hold the authority to distribute the award amongst projects, rather than allocating a certain amount to each district.
The PPP’s Naveed Qamar opposed the bill — which will require an amendment in Article 160 of the Constitution — saying that distribution of the NFC award is a provincial matter.
On the other hand, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab, who at first opposed the bill, appeared convinced after a while.However, Qaumi Watan Party Chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao maintained that the bill was tantamount to an attempt at weakening the federal government.
The bill was forwarded to the relevant committee of the house, by the NA deputy speaker, who was presiding over the session.
Another MQM lawmaker, Kishwer Zehra, additionally introduced a second bill to extend the benches of higher courts to district headquarters. This bill was also referred to the relevant standing committee.The NA also adopted a resolution to construct new small dams in the country — presented by MQM’s Dr Fouzia Hameed — after it found support from the treasury benches, with Shaikh Aftab noting that small dams are the “need of the hour”.