Rethinking the Eighteenth Amendment and devolution.The writer is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad. He has previously worked at The Express Tribune and Newsline
Absurd though it may sound to those who know little of the Eighteenth Amendment beyond it being the ultimate rebuke to the unconstitutionality of military dictators, parliament passed an important bill on women’s rights and it ended up not mattering because human rights no longer fall under the purview of those we elected at the centre. In 2010, the National Assembly took the long overdue step of passing a domestic violence bill, making what had previously been seen as a personal matter into a criminal. Due to lethargy and conservative objections, that bill lapsed before it could be approved in the Senate. Finally, earlier this year, the Senate finally got to passing the bill but it no longer mattered: thanks to the abolition of the concurrent list under the Eighteenth Amendment, the matter has now been devolved to the provinces and the law only took effect in the Islamabad Capital Territory.