By Sikander Hayat
Today when we celebrate Pakistan day, we must not forget Balochistan and its grievances. For far too long we have tried to establish a state based on religion but it must be said that this experiment has not been an unqualified success. In the process we have created monsters like Taliban and now these our very own creations are making life difficult for average Pakistanis.
Pakistan must revisit the national question at its very core and turn itself into a country which does not require any religion to survive but love of people for their land which is far stronger and long lasting than a religion which has no national boundaries.
The new Pakistan should be based on the principles of equality and justice for all, be they the people or the federal components.
There must not be a perception that Punjab is having more than its fair share as we all know that not only the act of justice is important but the perception of justice being done is as important as well. Here are some of my suggestions to create more harmony among the provinces of Pakistan:
1. There should be more provinces carved out of the present four.
a. Punjab which should be divided into three provinces of Pothohar, Central Punjab and South Punjab
b. Balochistan should have two provinces of North Balochistan & South Balochistan
c. NWFP should be divided into Pashto & Non Pashto speaking parts and Pashto speaking part should be renamed as Pakhtunkhwa
d. Sindh should be divided into two provinces of North Sindh & South Sindh
e. FATA, Azad Kashmir, Northern Areas should get provincial status
2. All these provinces must have sweeping powers to manage their own affairs and very few areas should be under federal jurisdiction
3. Federal Government should have five responsibilities
b. Foreign Affairs
c. Currency ( Central Bank)
d. Communications ( Roads, rails, ports & telecommunications)
4. All major ports as part of communication should be joint federal/Provincial jurisdiction
5. Every citizen will pay two taxes (both will be at a reduced rate based on United States and Canadian Model), one to the federal government and the other to the respective provincial government. This will make the provinces self sufficient and central funding should be allocated on basis of need for development as well as population.
These are just few of the suggestions but must be taken into consideration as the individual populations of Punjab, Sindh & Pakhtunkhwa are so large that they cannot be governed properly and a lot of people will have to live without access to government. Following are the population figures for the each of the components of Pakistan ( courtesy Wikipedia) which clearly shows that Pakistan must have more provinces than it currently has:
a. Punjab - 81,845,433
b. Sindh - 46,378,000
c. Pakhtunkhwa - 20,215,000
d. Balochistan - 10,247,362
e. FATA - 5,600,000
f. Northern Areas - 1,800,000
g. Azad Kashmir - 4,567,982
As you can see for yourself, most of above mentioned federal components could be countries in their own right and it is not wise to run them with such a centralised administration. I am raising this issue because I believe that it is of vital important for Pakistan’s prosperity.
I look forward to the readers of this article to contribute via your valuable comments if you agree or disagree and please post your own suggestions to resolve the issue of provincial autonomy.
Here are some further contribitions from other sites
1. Lets Devide Pakistan into 8 Provinces…? May 5th, 2008 Nisar Ahmed
2.Pakistan’s new provinces & new names: NWFP=Naya Watan Frontier Province, FATA=Fatah e Islam, Northern Areas=Nayeh Alaqajat
Posted on January 21, 2008 by Moin Ansari