May 27; Members of the 17th Youth Parliament Pakistan engaged in an interactive virtual session on evolution of federalism in Pakistan and Australia. The virtual session was organized by PILDAT with the support of the Australian High commission’s Direct Aid Programme.
Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, presented key takeaways from the background paper written by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, public intellectual, former National Security Advisor and Former Federal Minister for Finance, Foreign Affairs and a Development Economist. Mr. Sartaj Aziz could not attend the session. In is recommendations, Mr. Sartaj Aziz believes that the call for revisiting 18th Amendment should be discouraged. Instead, capacity of the Provincial governments needs to be enhanced to deal with the devolved subjects of Education and Health. Duplication of efforts should be avoided between Federal and Provincial Governments in areas such as Health, Agriculture and Population Planning. Role of Federal Government should be increased in social protection, poverty reduction, higher education and health insurance by better utilisation of the CCI. In Water and Higher Education, mechanism of matching grants can be used by Federal Government to achieve accelerated progress. Federal Government must show leadership by evolving through consensus & approval of CCI a model Local Government law which should also set time limit of holding LG elections and efforts should be made to increase the federal tax revenues to 15% of the GDP.
Speaking on the Evolution of Fiscal Federalism in Australia Dr. Moeen Cheema, Associate Professor at the College of Law, Australian National University (ANU), briefly shared the history of federalism and constitutional formation in Australia. He said fiscal federalism is key to robust federalism. However, Australia is somewhat anomalous amongst developed democracies as its constitutional system has deeply entrenched federalism but has at the same time evolved a vertical fiscal imbalance that leads to comparatively much greater centralization of power and policymaking in the federal government or Commonwealth of Australia. As a developed economy, however, and the over-sized revenue generating capacity of the federal government, the fiscal imbalance is cushioned through Commonwealth’s generous unconditional and conditional grants to Australian States. Evolution of mechanisms of coordination between the Commonwealth and States through policymaking is also entrenched in practice that takes care of the centralization of power.
Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director PILDAT welcomed the participants and provided a background for the discussion session in addition to moderating the session.
MYPs who joined the virtual session included: Mr. Abdul Jabbar Rustamani (NA-234 Dadu-I), Mr. Aftab Khan (NA-2 Swat-I), Mr. Arbaz Ahmad (NA-97 Bhakkar-I), Mr. Arif Khan (NA-258 Loralai-cum-Musa Khail-cum-Ziarat-cum-Dukki-cum-Harnai), Mr. Arsam Tufail Butt (NA-131 Lahore-IX), Mr. Ashfaque (NA-232 Thatta), Ms. Ayeza Fatima (NA-84 Gujranwala-VI), Mr. Azmat Yaseen (NA-184 Muzaffargarh-IV), Ms. Bakhtawar Javed (NA-60 Rawalpindi-IV), Mr. Fakhar ul Zaman (NA-165 Vehari-IV), Mr. Hafiz Muhammad Arfan Ajmal (NA-106 Faisalabad-VI), Mr. Humayun Babar (NA-120 Sheikhupura-II), Ms. Ifrah Abid (NA-133 Lahore-XI), Mr. Karim Jawed Alwani (Overseas Pakistani), Ms. Madeeha Fatima (NA-158 Multan-V), Ms. Mishal (NA-122 Sheikhupura-IV), Ms. Mubeen Ashraf (NA-90 Sargodha-III), Mr. Muddasir Ghumroo (NA-209 Khairpur-II), Mr. Muhammad Arslan Rafique (NA-140 Kasur-IV), Mr. Muhammad Awais (NA-105 Faisalabad-V), Mr. Muhammad Imran Masood (NA-70 Gujrat-III), Mr. Muhammad Raza (NA-103 Faisalabad-III), Mr. Muhammad Yousaf Munir (NA-251 Karachi West-IV), Mr. Muhammad Zubair Kashif (NA-99 Chiniot-I), Mr. Mujtaba Shareef (NA-30 Peshawar-IV), Ms. Muneeba Maryam (NA-58 Rawalpindi-II), Mr. Najeebullah Khan (NA-262 Pishin), Mr. Noman Nazim (Overseas Pakistani), Mr. Rana Faisal Hameed (NA-92 Sargodha-V), Mr. Rashid Alam (NA-10 Shangla), Ms. Sadaf Bilal Ansari (NA-125 Lahore-III), Mr. Sami ur Rehman (NA-8 Malakand Protected Area), Ms. Sehrish Naz (NA-182 Muzaffargarh-II), Ms. Shafia Memon (NA-233 Jamshoro), Mr. Shafiq Afridi (NA-43 Tribal Area-IV), Mr. Shahid Hussain (NA-211 Naushahro Feroze-I), Mr. Suleman Ghani Khan (NA-55 Attock-I), Ms. Sunaira Abbas (NA-172 Bahawalpur-III) and Ms. Tooba Tahir (NA-74 Sialkot-III).
Screen Shots of the Consultative Session: