Pakistan, being an ideological
state, extends its basis on the motto of two-nation theory but the people living
across her don’t follow the same culture. Pakistani culture has the co-existence
of Balochi, Sindi, Punjabi and Pashtun cultures provided their own feeding
habits, dress codes, social norms. The ethnic approach of her people is also
very strong and it seems very unlikely for them to go beyond their ethnicity. As
population of Pakistan is on increase since its inception in 1947, so the need
for the creation of more provinces has been realized from time to time. Its 17
years on that the census of population taken place there yet the realization for
more provinces or administrative units is very strong.
Many political parties of Pakistan has expressed their willingness for the
creation of new provinces but yet to transform into reality.
The clause 4, clause 5 and clause 6 of the Article 239 of 1973 constitution of
Pakistan declares no right to amend the provincial boundaries unless the given
amendment is proven by the two-third majority of provincial assembly of
concerned province. It also delimits the courts to put the provincial boundaries
in question. It is much clearer that to reform the provinces or provincial
boundaries, the amendment in the article 239 0f the constitution is needed
first. To amend the said clauses of the constitution the will of provincial
assembly is crucial and required first. As our political parties get their due
share of votes in their respective provinces more commonly based on ethnicity
and locality, so they don’t want to demarcate their existing share at any cost.
The election result of election 2013 indicates the more ethnic and regional vote
bank of political parties.
The census of population has only occurred five times since the inception of
Pakistan provided the most recent occurred in 1998. As the population of
Pakistan ranks it as the 6th most populous country on earth, so this increase in
population is accompanied by the number of issues and problems in question. Some
of these are:
Poor coordination between the people and the ruling elite,
Unequally represented local cultures and a
sense of deprivation,
Linguistic and ethnic variance etc.
Good governance can be achieved by the devolution of power from the centre to
provinces. The 18th amendment in 1973 constitution advocates the provincial
autonomy and grants more power to the provinces but still the effective
governance and equivocal public services are more likely a dream unfulfilled.
Lets examine the World Bank(WB)
Report on 2010 floods in Pakistan which inflicted a heavy toll on the life and
economy. The total loss was estimated to be approximately $5 billion. The world
bank examined that the major concern behind the poor control over flood waters
was the poor co-ordination between the central and provincial flood management
authorities. The state of unknowingness prevailed among the public till the
onset of flood waters mainly due to the negligence on the part of disaster
management and poor co-ordination between the public and disaster management
authorities. The timely action and robust management could save many of the
flood victims and the loss of life could be lessened. Same happens when
provincial autonomy decreases across the regions of the province. The lack of
effective co-ordination between the various regions of a province causes the
severe negligence on the part of the government or government institutions.
According to the quota system which is being implemented in Pakistan, Punjab
gets the 50 percent of the total share of all the provinces due to its
overwhelming population. The share of Sind is only 23 pc and Balochistan only
gets the 19pc of total share due to its reduced population. This quota system
seems unjust as the census has not taken place since 1998. The exact share of
provinces in financial assets is unknown even if it is based solely on
Karachi, being the coastal city is the economic hub for the land of the pure and
contributes much in the national economy than the resting areas of Pakistan. The
people of Sind exhibit their deprivation of their due share despite their heavy
contribution towards the national economy. Same is the case for resource rich
Balochistan who also feel denied of their due share in national income. The
people of Balochistan comprises two major ethnicities: baloch and pashtun. The
baloch people considers themselves under-represented also due to the Afghan
people colonies settled there in the aftermath of USSR attack in Afghanistan.
There exists a poor coordination between the general public and the ruling elite
mainly due to the poor co-ordination between them. The example of Bengal best
predicts the case of ineffectiveness of the ruling party over a vast region. The
Bengal during the British rule was poorly governed and it was difficult for the
centre to control such a vast region due to its overwhelming population. The
people of Bengal demanded the division of Bengal into two: east and west Bengal.
For an effective governance the devolution of power is a major concern. The
effective governance can only be achieved if there exists a power share in
relatively small administrative units.
The cultural groups of different provinces are in a continuous sense of
deprivation due to their poor representation nationally and regionally. If we
look at our neighbors i.e., India. It has Hindi as its official language written
in Devanagri style alongside English but each state of India is allowed to have
the official language of their choice based on their linguistic demographics. So
it end up in having 22 official languages in total excluding English. So what is
wrong in having the regional languages represented nationally. It has the
potential to satisfy the linguistic concern of the provinces.
Also India has more than 23 administrative units. It has twenty nine states and
seven union territories which were only 17 at the time of independence in 1947.
The only world super power: United States of America has 50 administrative units
which work under a federation working efficiently and more effectively. If we
take the examples of different countries in having the greater number of
provinces over a specified portion of land then all we get to know is proper
governance, efficient control over the governing region and somewhat better
There is nothing wrong in having more provinces in Pakistan provided the newly
formed provinces are not based on the ethnic and linguistic divide. The new
provinces are to be formed based on fewer administration. The division of
existing provinces based on the ethnic approach is more like a genie out of the
bottle which is hard to push back into it. This ethnic uprising can happen every
other day in view of having the different tribal groups across Pakistan.
The issue of (FATA) Federally Administered Tribal Areas is longstanding and yet
to be resolved. These areas are still governed by (FCR) Frontier Crime
Regulation despite having many loopholes in the law. These areas comprises seven
agencies and various regions still awaiting the rank of province. They are also
under-represented in forming the national policies and legislation due to the
poor execution of these laws over there.
Once it gets the level of province: its more likely to have its due share in
national disbursement of funds.
The PPP government advocated the division of Punjab into two: South Punjab and
the remaining areas of Punjab but seems in a denial mode when it comes to the
province of their own governance(Sind). The Saraiki belt is demanding the
provincial status on and off but never ending its demand of having the status of
a province. The Hazzara community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwan also wants provincial
autonomy. All these demands appear to be unjust because they of their more
ethnic and lingual basis. The political scenario is also falling the same
category as PPP gets more vote from their local population and same is true for
other parties in the field of political battle. The awareness and education on
the part of the people is all required to control the situation. If the
languages of different provinces are supported publicly then the regional fear
of their denied status will likely to get controlled. Pashtun being spoken and
understood in Afghanistan and other pashtun speaking regions of South Asia can
become the language of trade and communication between the population of
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As two percent of the population of Iran speaks and understand Balochi is likely
to become the language of communication between Pakistan’s Balochistan and its
Iranian counterpart. The CPEC project is likely to provide a bit larger space to
Chinese languages but we can equally support and promote our own regional
languages by granting them an official status and language of communication at
least in the level of province alongside Urdu and English. This will really help
in quitting the genies of linguistic and ethnic uprising. All we need is to get
the political attention and sub-sequent implementation in having the cultural
There is a dire need to have the population census in accordance with the
constitutional spirit of 1973 which says that census of national population will
held every five years.
Only then the peoples share of resources can be just and vigilant.
The share of provinces in getting their share of financial assets needs to be
shifted from sole parameter of population towards their contribution in national
income and labor work. This will also propagate the residents of different units
to contribute more lively in the national economy.
The quota system also needs to be addressed in latter and spirit which will
satisfy the due share of existing provinces and autonomous regions. Having these
issues addressed and provided the education and political will of the people the
public understanding on the administrative issues can be achieved more
Political campaigning in understanding the administrative issues is required in
Pakistan. Better to take the political campaigning regarding the drawbacks and
tidbits of corruption, its effects on institutions and public services by PTI
Supremo, Imran Khan, as an example. This really evolved the public understanding
of corruption and thereafter effects.
Pakistan being a developing country is likely to face the financial crisis after
the provincial divide into several provinces and administrative units. To
address the financial dilemmas for new provinces the tax net needs to be
increased. The direct taxation should increased. There is also a need to
increase the public awareness about the importance of tax money paid by them.
The people of Pakistan need to understand that the development of infrastructure
and public services becomes more frequent due to the well deposited tax income.
There is also a need to take vigilant steps to brought more people into the tax
The corruption should be reduced institutionally and politically because it eats
the finances of a country like a termite. Once the evil spirit of corruption is
bottled, the institution building will be automated.
The resource distribution is also a serious concern in the post provincial
division scenario, especially the distribution of water resources. There is a
need of vigilant public sector policies to ensure the equal distribution of
The natural resource rich areas needs to get in cash or kind on the part of
sharing their natural resources with other provinces probably newly formed
The major implication is the consensus on the part of political parties which
needs to be addressed sooner or latter. The legislative and parliamentary status
must be settled accordingly.
The creation of new provinces is not a thing unknown to the world. It is
experimented even among the most developed nations of the world including China
and USA. Pakistan can have new provinces provided the issues of ethnicity and
cultural divide, assets distribution, natural resource distribution and public
perception are addressed.