PM Imran Khan says 'no objection to 18th Constitutional Amendment but certain points need to be reviewed'.


KARACHI/LARKANA -- Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government had "no objection" to the 18th Constitutional Amendment but that it was necessary to review some of its points that were "included in a hurry".

While addressing the media at the Governor's House, Karachi, he said that the Amendment had given provincial chief ministers "powers equivalent to dictators", but they did not devolve that power to local governments. "The system everywhere is based on three tiers but [in Pakistan] the system is two-tiered."

"I have clarified that devolution of power happens in societies where there is good governance. [The PPP government] included some things in the 18th Constitutional Amendment in a hurry that need to be reviewed," he said. "One example is pollution - air and environment pollution affect all provinces. Medicines need to be standardised. They have done several things wrong."

The premier said that the local government system the PTI would bring in the next elections would be "the best in the world", adding that it was the PTI that devolved power and empowered village councils in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, making it the first province to do so.

"We have held direct elections at the Tehsil level. The purpose for doing this is because we realised that a lot of corruption was done when elections was conducted through nazim. This is the system worldwide."

He added that the mayoral system was successful all over the world. "Karachi's problems cannot be solved unless direct elections happen. This system exists worldwide, I am not saying something new."

The premier said that there was an "anomaly" in the National Finance Commission (NFC), adding that 65 per cent was given to the provinces while there were allocations for defence and debt servicing as well.

"The federal government starts with Rs7 billion deficit budget, it is not feasible. This needs discussion and review. No budget in world is made with deficit."

The premier said that Pakistan was the only country to strike a balance between tackling the spread of the virus and saving the economy. "Corona is international. Pakistan is thankfully saved. We would have reached our peak anyway because we can't [afford to] lockdown."

Citing the example of India, he said that they had to lift restrictions as people were dying of hunger and of the virus. "Pakistan is the only country to strike a balance between both [...] 34pc of the people in India went below the poverty line.


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