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Control of Provinces by Federal Government and Provincial administrative autonomy

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Article 1 of the constitution establishes Pakistan a federal republic. Objectives resolution ascertains that Pakistan shall be a federation with autonomous provinces. Pakistan is a federation with distinctive federal structure. Schedule IV of the constitution empowers federal government with 77 subjects and allows provincial or residuary subjects to provinces which are fundamentally close to 10 including law and order, district administration and others.

18th amendment has separated the federal and provincial constitutional authority of federation and provinces. It establishes that Federation and Provinces shall operate in respective domains according to schedule IV of the constitution. Apart from this separation of subjects, there are still 18 subjects of Council of Common interests CCI which are common between the federation and provinces but those common subjects shall also be controlled by federation owing to federal sensitivities of the state. Hence, this distribution of subjects is already in favor of federation. But, now question arises as to why federal government controls the provinces even on meagre residuary subjects?

Federation control the provinces through a colonial scheme called reservation of provincial posts for central services introduced in 1915 by All India Act. The colonial scheme was abolished through Indian independence act, 1947 but against all constitutional schemes, still is in placed owing to reasons unknown to many. This scheme is entirely opposite to the existing constitution. Article 240 (b) of the constitution empowers the provincial governments on all posts connected with the affairs of a province.

However, against the constitutional proposition, the federal government controls the provinces through appointment of Chief Secretaries and IGs. How can federal government exercise constitutional authority on provincial posts? These unconstitutional appoints by federal executive authority make the provincial governments irrelevant. It is essential to have post, service and subject alignment. These are the provincial governments which should appoint Chief Secretaries and IGs and those too from provincial services. For this, they need to raise provincial services and cadres. Without doing this, provincial governments shall remain subject to the authority of the federal government.

Implementation of the constitution on the posts connected with the affairs of a province is essential for rule of law and governance. The response of Punjab Chief Secretary and IG to Punjab Government is because they are federal employees and do not fall under the authority of provinces. Therefore, it is need of the hour that provincial governments exercise their constitutional authority and call off all orders subverting provincial executive authority.

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