LAHORE: President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi has said there is no threat to the 18th Constitutional Amendment. However, there is always a room for improvement in a law.
“The purpose of the 18th amendment was to give autonomy to the provinces so they can perform better and increase their capacities, and if there is something missing, it can be improvised,” said Dr Alvi in an interview to sources on Thursday.
He said the federation has a role to play and it should have an upper hand in certain areas. “There are agreements with other countries on which the federation is the signatory. The federation should guide on those subjects,” he added.
The president said for the first time in the history of the country, all the three institutions – the civil leadership, the judiciary and the military – are on the same page. The government, judiciary, and the army are working in full harmony, he added.
Talking with reference to the tug of war between the federal and Sindh governments after the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) unveiled a damning report implicating the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) top leadership in a money laundering case, the president said the report was worrisome.
However, he said the recent conflict between federal government and Sindh is not related to the 18th amendment as claimed by the PPP that rules Sindh but to corruption. “The JIT report includes names of people from Sindh but it is not right to use Sindh Card [to counter the report],” he said.
“The Sindh government should improve its performance. The accused should explain. There were allegations against [Prime Minister] Imran Khan regarding his Bani Gala property but our party [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] did not clamour,” he said.
“My advice to Sindh and the federal governments is that they should work together and contribute towards development of the province and the country. Our government will not support any unconstitutional initiative,” he added.
In response to a question about the PPP’s claim that Sindh is not being given its rights, he said all provinces, including Sindh, are getting their due rights.
Speaking with reference to ongoing process of accountability, the president said some people are worried although there is no government interference in the process of accountability.
“NAB [National Accountability Bureau] and the judiciary are independent institutions and are working in their respective areas,” he added. “Any person who is arrested for any reason calls his arrest political victimisation and revenge.”
He said the accountability watchdog should be strengthened and reformed if necessary. He said media is biased at times and that it should not side with ‘the looters’.
“It is not happening. Political stability is not possible where corrupt go scot-free. Eradication of corruption from the country is necessary as it is the root cause of our problems,” he added.
Dr Alvi said Asghar Khan case must continue, and further investigation should be carried out. “Some facts are very clear in the case on which action should have been taken. I think this case should go ahead,” he added.
The FIA last week requested the apex court to close the ‘decades’ old’ case related to alleged role of a spy agency in countering the PPP former chairperson Benazir Bhutto ahead of 1990 general election by distributing money among rival political parties and politicians.
Talking with reference to economy, he said former finance minister Ishaq Dar ran economy by taking cosmetic and artificial measures. “The first few months [of the incumbent government] are about setting the direction right,” he added.
Dr Alvi did not approve of the trade of barbs in the parliament and said “It would be much better if words were chosen more carefully and people kept a watch on their tones.”