CSSPakistan Affairs

Q.3 How far the nature of center province relations has changed under various amendments to the 1973 constitution? Evaluate. (20)  2019

The nature of center-province relations in Pakistan has undergone several changes since the adoption of the 1973 Constitution. Here, we will evaluate how various constitutional amendments have affected this relationship:

  1. Eighth Amendment (1985): This amendment gave sweeping powers to the President, including the ability to dismiss elected governments and dissolve assemblies. This led to a weakening of provincial autonomy and a concentration of power in the central government.
  2. Thirteenth Amendment (1997): This amendment devolved some powers to the provinces, including control over local government and the ability to raise revenue through a Provincial Finance Commission. However, these powers were limited and the central government retained significant control over provincial affairs.
  3. Seventeenth Amendment (2003): This amendment provided for the establishment of a National Security Council, which included both federal and provincial representatives. This was seen as a positive step towards greater provincial representation and cooperation.
  4. Eighteenth Amendment (2010): This amendment devolved a significant amount of power to the provinces, including control over natural resources, education, and health. It also abolished the Concurrent List, which had previously allowed both federal and provincial governments to legislate on certain subjects. This amendment was seen as a significant step towards greater provincial autonomy and a more balanced center-province relationship.
  5. Twenty-First Amendment (2015): This amendment provided for the establishment of military courts to try terrorism cases. It was criticized by some as a violation of provincial autonomy and a further concentration of power in the central government.

Overall, the amendments to the 1973 Constitution have had a mixed impact on center-province relations in Pakistan. While some amendments, such as the Thirteenth and Twenty-First, have led to a weakening of provincial autonomy, others, such as the Eighteenth, have devolved significant power to the provinces. It is worth noting, however, that even with these constitutional changes, the center-province relationship in Pakistan remains a contentious and often fraught one, with ongoing disputes over issues such as revenue sharing, resource allocation, and the distribution of power.

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