An open confrontation.
Universally, the Federal law and agency is considered to be the supreme and provincial or state legislation is subject to approval of the Federal institution. It has been observed, recently and even in the past, that Sindh Government, was bypassing Federal orders, not giving heed to their instructions, at times also overruled the judiciary decision, like renewal of Rangers presence in Sindh to maintain law and order and very recently trying to remove IG Sindh, Mr. A.D. Khawaja. No doubt 18th Amendments, provide maximum autonomy to the provinces, they should avail the benefits, but should avoid taking undue advantage or taking it for granted, have to be within certain framework/parameter.
Sindh Assembly, passed a bill to repeal NAB Ordinance, 1999 amid protest from the opposition lawmakers. Passing of the bill means that NAB has lost its right to take actions against any institution which comes under Sindh government or any of its officers. Interestingly, the bill was tabled just a few days after NAB announced it would expand the scope of its investigation against alleged corruption and irregularities in different departments of Sindh, particularly in Karachi. Opposition parties, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)–Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League–Functional (PMLF) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had jointly filed a petition in SHC challenging the controversial National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 Repeal Bill, 2017 (now Act) recently enacted by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led provincial government. It appears that the Sindh government and centre are on a collision course once again as Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair has refused to sign the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 Repeal Bill 2017 currently
passed by the government. Terming the legislation unconstitutional and in contradiction with the federal law, governor Sindh stated that the bill relates to subjects that fall in the concurrent list, meaning that both the province and the federation can legislate on them. However since a federal law on the matter already exists, which the said bill wants to repeal, the federal law shall prevail. Muhammad Zubair has sent the bill back to the Sindh Assembly to reconsider and discard since it is “repugnant to the provisions” of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and the Constitution. In the opinion of a legal expert, under Article 143 of the Constitution, a provincial government cannot repeal a law passed by the National Assembly, that under Article 147 of the Constitution, the federal government can interfere if the Sindh government passes a law against NAB. Eventually, the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to continue its inquiries against provincial assembly members and bureaucrats. According to media sources, NAB is presently probing into corruption charges against over 60 bureaucrats and politicians including Law Minister Zia-ul-Hassan Lanjar, MPA Faqir Dad Khoso, Sharmila Farooqi, Sharjeel Memon, former chief secretary Siddiq Memon, Aijaz Chaudhry, former member Board of Revenue Shazar Shamoon, Secretary Badar Jameel, Ali Ahmed Lond, Managing Director Water Board Hashim Raza Zaidi, former education minister Pir Mazharul Haq, MNA Mir Munawar Talpur, MPA Ali Mardan Shah, former administrator Karachi Rauf Akhter and former chairman Inter Board Anwar Zai. As per my understanding, Sindh Government is trying to challenge the writ of the Federal Government, with a clear intention of protecting their corrupt officials in the province persistently. Moreover, this could also set a precedent for other provinces too. Hence, it is suggested that some kind of a check and balance should exist, to prevent from going against the supreme authority that is Federal law and agency.