Pre-emptive politics. Conspiracy against provincial autonomy. Attempt to degrade parliament. Such angry comments came from lawmakers as what Senator Raza Rabbani saw as only �a storm in a teacup� over mainly the financial devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provinces spilled over in the National Assembly on Tuesday. And when he received an apparently incomplete information during his speech in the lower house that the Supreme Court had issued a stay order against the planned devolution, Mr Rabbani, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the Implementation of the Eighteenth Amendment, remarked: �Probably we are writing a new history to stop parliament from legislation.� It later emerged that a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had only issued an interim order on a challenge to the devolution plan that the HEC�s present status would continue unless altered by a new legislation � a course Mr Rabbani said was already in the works to meet the requirements of the Eighteenth Amendment. The senator said he was ready to face a detailed house debate over what he described as �a storm in a teacup� he blamed on unspecified opponents of provincial autonomy, though he clearly accused the present HEC chairman and some university vice-chancellors of playing �pre-emptive politics� after his commission had explained to their delegation the necessity of the devolution and the plan to form a new �standards of higher education commission� as an autonomous body by amending the existing Musharraf-era ordinance. He said the commission had assured the delegation members they would be consulted again before bringing the amending law to parliament. �But instead of waiting, they resorted to pre-emptive politics and tried to create confusion and a fear factor that (foreign) scholarships (awarded by the HEC) would be terminated.� Mr Rabbani assured the house the present scholarships would not be hit, whatever their duration and explained that the funding of the universities now done through the HEC would, under the new plan, be done by the provinces � already having administrative control of most of the country�s universities � from their share of finances received through the National Finance Commission.
By: Dawn News