“The muted murmurs about rolling back 18th Amendment and changing National Finance Commission (NFC) formula to fund the ever rising security expenditure without accountability will alienate the provinces and undermine the federation by pitting federating units against the federation,” former senator Farhatullah Babar said at an orientation programme organised by Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services for the members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly at a local hotel in Peshawar on Monday. Disregarding the constitutionally mandated division of powers between state institutions and the systemic weakening of the Parliament has already undermined the federal structure of the state, he said. The civil-military bureaucratic complex refuses to answer parliamentary questions and judicial independence appears to have become independent from law and the Constitution made by the Parliament, he said. Elaborating, he said that judicial independence appeared to have gone too far when a fine is slapped on an errand Member of Provincial Assembly to raise money for building dams. He said that democracy was a process that rested on the tripod of rule of law, transparency and accountability. However, only parliamentarians were subjected to microscopic scrutiny, painted black and victimised in the name of accountability. Farhatullah Babar said that accountability is critical but it will be a charade unless it was across the board and there were no sacred cows. There is not one good reason why parliamentarians, ministers, civil servants, judges and generals all paid out of state exchequer are not subjected one and same accountability law, he said. He urged the MPAs to make full use of constitutional bodies like the Senate, the Council of Common Interest, the NFC and the National Executive Committee to ensure rights of the federating units. Babar said that a huge stumbling block in the way was that some institutions assumed powers beyond the Constitution and were controlling the ship through back seat driving while refusing to be held accountable. Federal and provincial parliaments need to press their collective wisdom and power to remove this stumbling block, he said. Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.