The war between Center and Sindh has not been over yet and this was witnessed in the sessions of National Assembly and Senate on Tuesday where the two parties kept bashing each other instead of doing some positive discussion on the current situation of the country that is getting down with every coming day due to the fatal outbreak of Covid-19.
This time the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi took the driving seat and assured that the government had no intentions to scuffle the 18th amendment in the constitution. He added that although the government had warmly accepted the positive points of the amendment yet the weaker points were needed to be revisited and reviewed. He assured the opposition that the government was not going to bury the said amendment for not having a two-third majority in the parliament.
“will Sindh not get benefit from Rs. 50 billion subsidy for the Utility Stores”? asks Qureshi
Replying to the allegations of discrimination with Sindh (by the Center), Qureshi said that the disbursement of relief funds was quite sufficient to justify the claims of Sindh and asked whether the province was going to get benefit from the subsidy of Rs. 50 billion for the Utility Stores or not?
Qureshi further added that he was still affirmed to what he said a day earlier that PPP was playing the Sindh card and the party that once was a symbol of federation had got stinky with bias now. He said that the Federal Government always sought suggestions and inputs from the provinces on the issue of Covid-19 and Sindh’ allegation on the Center to corner the provincial government was based on false assumptions. He clarified that the lock down was implemented as a strategy to contain and restrict the spread of Corona Virus and not as its treatment tool. He rejected that the PM held the elite class responsible for the lock down and clarified that Imran Khan meant to say that the elite could sustain the lock down but not the poor and daily waged workers as they had not enough resources for survival.
Replying to the issue of Imran Khan’s absence (that had been pointed out by the opposition), Qureshi said that PM was in Islamabad had been working closely with the health department and other stake holders on virus-related issues on daily basis. Qureshi also told that the decision of relaxing the lock down was taken on the basis of expert opinion as there had been chances of unemployment of 18.6 million workers and the shifting of 21-27 million people below the poverty line. He however admitted that the curve was increasing and would take time to flatten.
“Prime Minister and his words of unity both are missing in Parliament”, says Sherry Rehman
The issue of missing leadership was pointed out by the opposition in Senate where Sherry Rehman (PPP) said that Pakistan had been facing the pandemic of its own kind for the first ever time in the history however the Prime Minister and his words of unity were missing in the Parliament and this proved that either he had no time to attend the sessions on Covid-19 or he wanted to create and disseminate his narrative that the Parliament was totally irrelevant. If this was the case then who was running the country? She urged the PM to attend the sessions with a concrete government policy and strategy to deal with the pandemic. Sherry said that the Center left the provinces at their own in the time of crisis pleading that the 18th Amendment made them independent. She clarified that although the amendment granted autonomy to the provinces yet the provinces were not the state.
The government was trying to hide itself behind the 18th Constitutional Amendment so as to prevent its incompetence and flaws from getting exposed. She urged the government to take things seriously and avoid dirty politics in the time of national emergency by sitting together with the opposition so as to take the country out of the devastating situation. She emphasized the formulation of a unified and concrete strategy by the government so as to wipe out the confusion that had been established in the country due to “mixed messages” by the Federal Government.
The other opposition leaders also lamented Government’s stance of not consulting the opposition for any opinion in this regard and blamed that the decision to relax the lock down was against the expert opinion.