July 13, 2020

By Asra Haque


“The 18th Amendment and the 10th NFC award are being made points of contention as a well-thought out agenda,” said the vice president of the JUI (F) Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman in his speech at the Senate on July 13. The agenda, he said, was an attempt to weaken the federation. Referring to PTI members as “pawns”, he alleged that they were instructed to deliberately spark debate on the 18th Amendment and the NFC award to sow discord.

He went on to claim that the ruling party was disgruntled with the 18th Amendment because it posed as an obstacle to their regime. He accused the ruling party of being agents of foreign powers, attempting to weaken the state as well as the federation. He then turned to the military, stating that the defence sector receives a lion’s share of the budget, which he termed undeserved when he asked what the military has achieved since the inception of Pakistan in 1947 for which it is allowed to “eat right out of the pockets of Pakistani citizens”.

The remark sparked opposition from MQM’s Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, after which Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman demanded to know why he was being put on the spot when he had said nothing with was repugnant to the Constitution of Pakistan. The house then erupted into a back and forth between Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman and other senators. The JUI (F) leader then questioned why his comments sparked some outrage, as he did not name anyone.

Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman then called upon the Chair of the Senate Mir Sadiq Sajrani to maintain peace in the house, after which he reiterated that there was an ulterior motive in prompting discussions on the 18th Amendment and the NFC award. He added that the JUI(F) had called a meeting of all prominent leader of all prominent parties to discuss the matter and find a solution to it.

He then issued a warning that if open discussions on the 18th Amendment and the NFC award are allowed, then Pakistan may well

be on the path to the disintegration of the federation. If the opposition will not become an obstacle to the partition of the nation, then the JUI(F) will gladly become one.