Pakistan & The Provinces – The Question of Provincial Autonomy & Its Impact On Pakistan’s Future Prosperity

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

a. Defence

b. Foreign Affairs

c. Currency ( Central Bank)

d. Communications ( Roads, rails, ports & telecommunications)

e. Education

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


  1. Please place the correct map of Pakistan. Your map does not show Azad Kashmir and shows Occupied Kashmir as part of Bharat.

    Our map that you placed in your article is correct

    Editor Rupee News

  2. Sikander Bhai,

    I created the Map you post on this site about 2 years ago. I still the PSD file.

    It is vital for Pakistan to have more smaller provinces, which can be governed by the local government, this will not only stabilize the country but also help develop faster. Each province will get it share of representation in federal government.
    Each province will have economic development system, local government will promote the industry and service sectors as a means to socioeconomic achievement.
    Each state will develop it's own economic structure, economic planning of the future development in various field: Engineering, agriculture, food processing industry, sea food. Local government will be responsible to try to find the fastest way to lift up the economy through investment from both domestic and foreign investors.

    16 "Super districts or Provinces"
    9-Dera Gazi Khan

    Dividing Punjab into 4 provinces

  3. Dear Pakistan,

    I thank you for the valuable comment about the creation of new provinces in Pakistan. Indeed there is a dire need to create new provinces.

  4. FIVE REGIONAL CITIES should be upgraded with in the provinces in Pakistan. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages.Dera Ismail Khan in south of Pakhtun khwa/MWFP is under seige, Multan/DG Khan in south of Punjab is next target of religious extremists,Sukkar/ Larkana is being rule by criminals, Gawadar/ Qalat is trouble some. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. A good number of population travel to big cities for their survival to earn livelihood as the local feudal own majority land and keep the common man as their slaves. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit benches of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given upgrade/build the airports,TV station, civic center, libraries,hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area as majority population in rural Pakistan do not have enough resources to survive. It remind me the condition of pre Islamic revolution of Iran in Shah time when the rural Iran was ignored and the capital Tehran was developed in a way to call it Paris of Middle East with modern life style. Couple of other big cities like Isfahan and Caspian sea was taken care of because of foreign tourists but rural area was ruled by cruel police and intelligence. Then what happen rural population supported the Islamic revolution and moved to Tehran and other big cities later on. The new government after revolution developed, built and upgraded the rural areas of Iran accordingly. A fund to upgrade/build these regional cities in Pakistan should be intoduced by public and private sector and Pakistani government, our foreign friends and Pakistanis living abroad may be asked to participate in this development mission in the country..KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,( former secretary, Iranian embassy, Saudi Arabia,1975-88) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney-first & the only Pakistani lawyer who earned Intellectual Property laws scholarship in USA,presently residing in Florida, USA.

  5. I think this is the better division

    Atleast some good reasoning is also given.

  6. Replies
    1. errr excuse me anonymous. if you have such a sad life then please dont try taking your sad lifes anfer and depression out within a pakistani forum etc so plz do get a life

  7. Dear Anonymous,

    Why F Off, please put your point of view in more detailed manner. That will hep the debate on creation of new provinces in Pakistan and their relationship with the federal government.

    Sikander Hayat

  8. It appears Mr. Sikandar has no basic knowledge of the historical importance of the Provinces in this federal set up. After all, it is these provinces that have been the constituents of the federation, and not vice verse. Making hand made suggestions for creation of more provinces is the easiest way to design the statecraft on papers, but this exercise is far-fetched from the ground realities, and subsequently adverse implications. Provinces here in Pakistan are real historical entities, and not the mere administrative units, as a majority of pseudo intellectuals do depict. It was the will of the provinces that the federation was created, and it is the people of the provinces who decided for the federation, so, in practical terms, and in the context of legality, it is the provinces who gave Pakistan, and,therefore, provinces are supreme and more important than Pakistan.Give the provinces their due weightage in national affairs, do not make Pakistan an unnecessarily corrupted"national security state", if you really intend to make this country a living reality. In case you do not find the provinces to be as important, then you cannot, and can never, stop them from independence, no matter how strong militarily you are with all of your nuclear stockpiles.

  9. Hi yahandar, Thanks for your comment. Regards Sikander

  10. Yahandar.. provinces of Pakistan do not really have a very long history. In 1947, there were 5 provinces and 19 princely states. In 1955 these were united into two units West and East Pakistan, then in 1970 West Pakistan became 4 provinces. what was always more important was zaat and tribe.. people still have stronger identities based on whether they are Araeen or Rajput or brahui

    This is an interesting website with objective facts. Thank you Sikander Hayat

  11. Demanding the creation of new provinces is in vogue nowadays but actually creating them, not so much. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, semi-besieged as he is, still finds the time to throw his ruling PPP’s weight behind a new Seraiki province. The PML-Q says that they joined this coalition on the condition that a Seraiki province will be created. The PML-F, less functional than feudal, made the most endearing case for their southern Punjab stronghold gaining provincial status: they criticised facilities enjoyed by politicians in Lahore, saying assembly members had to forego their own backward areas for the provincial capital to live ‘a decent life’.
    The supporters of new provinces aren’t limited to cynics out to dent the PML-N’s vote bank. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan promised the Hazaras a province of their own. The MQM also tabled a bill in January pushing for new provinces in both the Hazara region and the Seraiki belt. Even Maulana Fazlur Rehman wants to restore the Bahawalpur province, a relic from 1955.
    A consensus among Pakistan’s political parties is evolving that more provinces mean more rights for disaffected peoples, more funds for their representatives, and less sway for parties with majorities in the current provinces, like those enjoyed by the ANP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the PML-N in Punjab. If nothing else, it’s hoped that constituents might vote for imaginary provinces that will empower them in ways unspecified.
    The PML-N sits sullenly in the middle of all this. It says it only supports new provinces that are devised along administrative lines, not ethnic ones. The PML-N is right, even if out of self-interest.
    Devolution has been made a mess of, alternating from divisions to local governments back to divisions again. More provinces based on administrative ease would strengthen the federation rather than weaken it. During the 1980s, the Federal Shariat Court’s Justice Tanzilur Rahman floated the idea that the existing four provinces be dissolved and the 20 administrative divisions become new provinces in a federal system with greater devolution. It didn’t happen, poisonous as it was to provincial bosses.
    Pakistan is too diverse to impose a single nationalist identity on the country. But in a nation already corroded by identity politics, whether there should be new provinces marking more ‘ethnolinguistic differences’ is the wrong discussion to be having in 2012. ‘Seraikistan’, rather than protecting the Seraiki people’s ethnolinguistic interests, would imply being content with just three lower divisions proposed from Punjab –– hardly befitting an ethnic group spread across all four provinces. Nor would it encompass Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Seraiki-speaking districts, lest it depress the PPP-allied ANP.
    And provincial status goes only so far towards addressing ethnic grievances. Ask the Baloch, Seraiki people, and the Hazara community. They are murdered in Balochistan and marginalised in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. But if ethnolinguistic interests are what our politicians strive for, then the PPP should continue playing the Sindh card, the PML-N should keep hiding from the Punjabi Taliban, and the ANP did well to change the NWFP’s name to something more representative of its Pashtun majority. The ANP’s only visible achievement over four years was antagonising the province’s Hazaras as other problems of gross corruption, mass illiteracy, and the debasement of women still remain.

  12. All,
    Corruption is the major problem in Pakistan.


    Independent Judiciary.
    Independent NAB.
    Institutionalized political Parties.

    Other problems includes Feudal system, Terrorism, extremism.

    New Map of Pakistan after resolving above problems..

    30+ administrative units

    Punjab - 9 administrative unites


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