ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has hinted at possible changes to the 18th Constitutional Amendment but ruled out any possibility of it being revoked.
In a television interview on Friday night, the president said the amendment could be modified for improvements but only with consensus among all federating units.
“The 18th Amendment is part of Pakistan’s constitution; if the constitution can be modified, then why not this particular amendment?” President Alvi said in response to a question.
Calling for capacity building of provinces, he said improvements were direly required in governance and reforms, particularly in the taxation system.
President Alvi also highlighted the need for a social revolution in Pakistan. “Our country has moved out of the shadow of terrorism and extremism. We are now heading towards economic progress. At this point, religious scholars must lead a social revolution and generate public awareness on issues such as cleanliness, civic responsibilities and malnutrition.”
He concluded on positive note and expressed confidence that Pakistan was heading in the right direction. “We are a nuclear power and one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Our people are generous and industrious and I believe nothing can deter Pakistan’s journey to progress,” said President Alvi.
There has been much debate recently over the future of the 18th Amendment, which was passed by the National Assembly in 2010 during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s tenure.
The PPP has repeatedly accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inasf-led government of having plans to revoke the amendment. In a recent interview with Express News, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said a conspiracy was being hatched against the 18th Amendment, which removes the power of the president to dissolve the parliament unilaterally.
He said government spokespersons had openly talked about changing the amendment. “It is this mindset that is bent on creating a one unit system in this country,” said Bilawal, vowing that the PPP would defend the 18th amendment at any cost.
“Three of Sindh’s hospitals have been snatched [by the federal government]. The rights of the province are being trampled upon by the Centre and, under these circumstances, any changes to the 18th Amendment will be detrimental to the country’s unity,” he said.