The PPP on Sunday announced that it will convene a multi-party conference (MPC) in Karachi in the coming week to address the “conspiracy” against the the 18th amendment, administrative changes to the National Finance Commission (NFC) and the Centre’s lacklustre response to the locust invasion and Covid-19 outbreak.
PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro has contacted leaders from the PML-N, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), JUI-F, Awami National Party (ANP) in this regard, according to a press release issued by his spokesperson.
“We [PPP] will now send formal invitations to leaders from political parties and nationalist parties in Sindh,” Khuhro was quoted as saying by his spokesperson.
“We must raise our voices to address the conspiracy against the 18th amendment,” Khuhro said, adding that the objective of the MPC would be to highlight the inadequate response of the federal government to the locust attack, among other issues.
The veteran PPP leader also lambasted the Centre for its proposed administrative changes to the NFC.
“The federal government is unable to tolerate the fact that the provinces receive more in the NFC than the Centre,” he said. “The Centre wants to weaken the provinces financially by reducing their NFC share,” he alleged.
He said that the Sindh government will never accept any NFC award that will end up reducing its financial share, arguing that the 18th amendment mandated that provincial shares in the NFC award can never be reduced.
“We reject the autocratic thinking of the prime minister in this regard,” he said.
Khuhro said that it was unfortunate that the PTI government was constantly undermining the provincial governments. He said that the Centre must realise that only a satisfied provincial unit can lead to a satisfied federal unit.
He demanded that the provincial share of the NFC award be increased from 57 per cent to 60 pc immediately.
“The provincial governments haven’t received a penny in international aid,” Khuhro said.
He alleged that the federal government was ignoring the pleas of the Sindh government on the locust issue “on purpose”.
“Locusts continue to wreak havoc on our crops in Sindh but the Centre is refusing to help us in our time of need,” Khuhro said.
“We will discuss all these issues during the conference,” he concluded.
The PPP’s announcement comes a day after its chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, had raised the NFC issue in a press conference.
He had warned that Centre’s NFC award proposal would not only affect the country’s national unity and social fabric but also send a “wrong message at a wrong time” internationally when Pakistan was facing many regional challenges.
“When the NFC was formed, the Sindh government sent a letter to Islamabad raising its objection and requesting to address the issue. But you can well assess the seriousness that our May 14 letter has not been responded to as yet,” he had said.
MPC a distraction, says Shibli Faraz
Shortly after the PPP’s announcement, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that PPP’s decision to convene the MPC was a “distraction”.
He was responding to a question from a reporter during a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday.
“Bilawal disappears for months at a time. But when we start talking about accountability, he comes out of hiding and starts distracting us. This multi-party conference is also a distraction,” Faraz said.
The information minister claimed that the federal government had assisted the Sindh government with a number of things, including the locust attack.
“If there’s a problem in Sindh, it’s because of his [Chief Minister Murad] bad governance,” he said.