CSSPolitical Science

Q. No. 5. Logically prove that 18th amendment of 1973 Constitution is considered to be the new social contract for provincial autonomy among the Pakistani political parties.2018-II

1.Devolution of Power

The devolution of power, as facilitated by the 18th Amendment of the 1973 Constitution in Pakistan, signifies a significant shift in the distribution of authority from the federal government to the provinces. This devolution is pivotal in addressing historical grievances and fostering a more equitable governance structure within the country.

Prior to the 18th Amendment, Pakistan’s political landscape was marked by centralization, with a considerable concentration of power in the hands of the federal government in Islamabad. This centralized model often led to neglect of regional concerns and aspirations, fostering discontent among provinces.

The 18th Amendment sought to rectify this imbalance by devolving substantial powers to the provinces, thereby granting them greater autonomy in managing their affairs. This devolution extended to various domains crucial for effective governance, including education, health, and social welfare. Provinces were empowered to formulate policies and enact legislation tailored to their unique socio-economic realities and developmental needs.

By decentralizing decision-making authority, the devolution of power facilitated a more responsive and accountable governance structure. Provinces became better equipped to address local challenges and mobilize resources efficiently to meet the needs of their populations. Moreover, it encouraged a sense of ownership and participation among citizens in the governance process, fostering a stronger sense of democracy and inclusivity.

Furthermore, the devolution of power under the 18th Amendment helped mitigate tensions between the federal government and provinces, promoting greater harmony and cooperation in the national political landscape. By recognizing and respecting the distinct identities and aspirations of different regions, the amendment contributed to the strengthening of Pakistan’s federal structure.

In essence, the devolution of power brought about by the 18th Amendment represents a paradigm shift towards a more decentralized and inclusive governance model in Pakistan. It not only addresses historical grievances but also lays the foundation for a more robust and responsive system of governance that is better equipped to address the diverse needs of Pakistan’s population.

2.Abolition of Concurrent List

The abolition of the Concurrent List, facilitated by the 18th Amendment of the 1973 Constitution in Pakistan, marks a crucial step towards enhancing provincial autonomy and streamlining legislative jurisdiction within the country.

Prior to the amendment, the Concurrent List allowed both the federal and provincial governments to legislate on certain matters simultaneously. This overlapping jurisdiction often led to confusion, duplication of efforts, and conflicts between federal and provincial laws. Moreover, it undermined the autonomy of provincial governments and impeded effective governance.

By abolishing the Concurrent List, the 18th Amendment clarified the division of legislative powers between the federal and provincial levels. It restricted the federal government’s authority to matters explicitly enumerated in the Federal Legislative List, while granting provinces exclusive legislative competence over subjects listed in the Provincial Legislative List.

This abolition not only eliminated redundancy and conflicts in legislative authority but also empowered provinces to enact laws independently in their areas of jurisdiction. It provided provinces with the flexibility to tailor legislation according to their unique socio-economic conditions, cultural sensitivities, and developmental priorities.

Furthermore, the abolition of the Concurrent List facilitated a more efficient and streamlined legislative process. It reduced bureaucratic hurdles and legal complexities associated with dual jurisdiction, thereby enhancing the clarity and effectiveness of the legal framework.


Moreover, by delineating clear boundaries of authority between the federal and provincial governments, the abolition of the Concurrent List contributed to the strengthening of Pakistan’s federal structure. It fostered a greater sense of autonomy and accountability at the provincial level, while preserving the integrity and sovereignty of the federal government.

In conclusion, the abolition of the Concurrent List under the 18th Amendment represents a significant milestone in Pakistan’s constitutional evolution. It not only enhances provincial autonomy and legislative clarity but also fosters a more efficient and harmonious governance system, conducive to addressing the diverse needs and aspirations of Pakistan’s population.

3.Financial Empowerment

Financial empowerment, as manifested through the 18th Amendment of the 1973 Constitution in Pakistan, signifies a pivotal shift in resource allocation and fiscal autonomy, particularly for provincial governments. This empowerment is instrumental in ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources and fostering sustainable development across the country.

Prior to the amendment, the allocation of financial resources was heavily skewed towards the federal government, with provinces often receiving an insufficient share of funds to address their developmental needs adequately. This imbalance perpetuated disparities in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and other essential services among provinces.

The 18th Amendment sought to rectify this disparity by increasing the share of provinces in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award from 47.5% to 57.5%. This significant boost in provincial allocations provided provinces with a larger pool of resources to finance their development projects, social welfare programs, and infrastructure initiatives.

This financial empowerment enables provinces to formulate and implement policies tailored to their specific socio-economic priorities and challenges. Provinces are better equipped to address localized issues such as poverty alleviation, healthcare access, education quality, and rural development, thereby fostering inclusive growth and equitable distribution of opportunities.

Moreover, financial empowerment enhances fiscal accountability and transparency at the provincial level. With greater control over resources, provincial governments are held more accountable by their constituents for effective utilization and efficient management of funds. This accountability mechanism fosters good governance practices and strengthens democratic institutions at the subnational level.

Furthermore, financial empowerment under the 18th Amendment promotes interprovincial cooperation and collaboration. Provinces can now engage in mutually beneficial partnerships, resource-sharing agreements, and joint ventures to address shared challenges and capitalize on collective opportunities for development.

In essence, financial empowerment through the 18th Amendment represents a critical step towards realizing the principles of fiscal federalism and equitable distribution of resources in Pakistan. By strengthening provincial finances, the amendment lays the foundation for sustainable and inclusive development, fostering prosperity and well-being across all regions of the country.

4.Renewed Federalism

Renewed federalism, as exemplified by the 18th Amendment of the 1973 Constitution in Pakistan, signifies a revitalized commitment to the principles of federal governance and the distribution of powers between the central government and provincial entities. This renewed federalism is essential for addressing historical grievances, promoting regional autonomy, and fostering a more inclusive and harmonious political landscape.

Before the 18th Amendment, Pakistan’s federal structure faced challenges due to centralization of power in Islamabad, which often marginalized provincial interests and contributed to inter-provincial tensions. This centralized model hindered effective governance and hindered the development of a sense of ownership and participation among provinces in the national decision-making process.

The 18th Amendment sought to address these challenges by redefining the balance of power between the federal government and provinces. Through measures such as devolution of powers, abolition of the Concurrent List, and enhancement of provincial financial autonomy, the amendment strengthened the autonomy and authority of provincial governments.

This renewal of federalism promotes a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities among provinces, thereby addressing regional disparities and fostering socio-economic development across the country. By empowering provinces to manage their affairs independently and tailor policies to local needs, renewed federalism enhances governance effectiveness and responsiveness to citizen demands.

Moreover, renewed federalism promotes inter-provincial cooperation and collaboration, as provinces are encouraged to work together on shared challenges and pursue collective initiatives for development. This collaborative approach fosters unity and solidarity among provinces, contributing to national cohesion and stability.

Furthermore, renewed federalism enhances democratic governance by promoting decentralization of power and fostering greater citizen participation in decision-making processes at the local and provincial levels. By strengthening subnational governments, the amendment ensures that governance is more responsive to the diverse needs and aspirations of Pakistan’s population.

In conclusion, renewed federalism through the 18th Amendment represents a significant milestone in Pakistan’s constitutional evolution, promoting regional autonomy, inter-provincial harmony, and democratic governance. By reaffirming the principles of federalism, the amendment lays the groundwork for a more inclusive and equitable political system that better serves the interests of all citizens and regions of the country.

Consensus and Legal Standing refer to the broad political agreement and the formal inclusion within the legal framework, respectively, of the 18th Amendment of the 1973 Constitution in Pakistan. These aspects are crucial for understanding the legitimacy and enduring impact of the amendment on the country’s governance structure.

Consensus: The passage of the 18th Amendment required extensive negotiation and agreement among various political parties and stakeholders in Pakistan. This consensus-building process reflects a shared understanding among political actors regarding the need for devolution of power, strengthening provincial autonomy, and addressing historical grievances. The fact that the amendment garnered support from a wide range of political parties underscores its legitimacy and acceptance as a fair arrangement for power-sharing and governance.

Legal Standing: The 18th Amendment is enshrined within the Constitution of Pakistan, which is the supreme law of the land. By formally incorporating the provisions of the amendment into the constitution, it gains legal standing and becomes binding on all branches of government. This ensures its continuity and enforceability, regardless of changes in government or political dynamics. The inclusion of the amendment within the constitution solidifies its status as a social contract for provincial autonomy and underscores its significance in shaping Pakistan’s constitutional framework.

Together, consensus and legal standing provide the 18th Amendment with legitimacy, durability, and enforceability. The broad political agreement signifies the acceptance of the principles embodied in the amendment, while its inclusion in the constitution ensures its long-term impact on Pakistan’s governance structure. By establishing a framework for devolution of power and strengthening provincial autonomy, the amendment lays the foundation for a more inclusive, responsive, and equitable political system in Pakistan.

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