Pakistan: Do we need more provinces

Will creation of more administrative units result in better management automatically? Whereas, this may bring the rulers and the ruled closer together, whereas, it will make those governing more accountable, and whereas, the issues besieging the people, may have a better chance of being addressed in a timely fashion, the fact remains, that this step must be based on honesty of purpose. If appointments on merit become the rule rather than an exception, any system, can achieve an unprecedented success rate as merit would, nay, should, deliver. Bifurcation into smaller units without a will to serve the people honestly will be of no use. It will neither ensure the end of corruption, nor bring us good governance. 
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MORE PROVINCES, GOOD OR BAD?

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Yasmeen Ali

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As early as 200 B.C., the Greeks found city states as more democratically manageable and administratively effective. An example in the recent past is the breaking away of the states from the USSR. In the context of families, we are witness to the movement from the large to nuclear families.

In a decentralized system, there is no single centralized authority that makes decisions on behalf of the provinces. Instead local representatives, make local autonomous decisions towards achievement of its local goals aimed to culminate into national good.

It is a fact that the administrative units in Pakistan (the 4 provinces besides FATA), are too large to be managed efficiently.

There is a huge disconnect between the rulers and the ruled. Try seeking an audience with the MNA or the MPA of your area without a facilitator and you will learn to your sorrow that it is not possible. His constituency is too large for him to attend to individual problems. Further, the impact of steps taken by the government hardly trickles down to the grassroots level. The participation of locals in development efforts is minimal.  Priorities of the central government in addressing issues of the people are more often than not, way out of sync with the actual ground realities, to say the least.

The grievances of the people are genuine. For the common man, there are hardly any affordable health facilities, inflation has sky rocketed, education that even if they can afford, offers, few lucrative job opportunities owing to the plum jobs going to the degree holders from the elite institutions, power breakdowns, problems with availing other basic amenities of life, lack of any constructive and positive avenues of entertainment and promotion of healthy activities for the youth like games, population explosion, the list is long and unending. When the leadership leans heavily towards promoting “favorites” and denies equal opportunities, people’s frustration will find a channel to vent itself. This will invariably be negative.  We have seen its negative impact in the form of militancy. It can also manifest itself in demands seen as a panacea for their all ills. Like the quest for more provinces.

Distribution of funds and their allocation to different account heads, so the benefits accrue to the locals, is absolutely decisive. More often than not, we see that funds are purportedly used, without a visible indicator of them being used as claimed, or, not to the degree publicized. This creates further disenchantment amongst the people and erodes the feeling of nationhood, sinking us even further and deeply into the black hole  of ethnicity.

As a result of genuine need felt, political expediency, or serving of vested interests, on various different occasions, there have been voices raised, in favor of more provinces. There was a demand for Seraiki Province. This was followed by one member of the previous Parliament raising a demand for the Bahawalpur Province, more recently, changing the name of NWFP to Pakhtunkhawa Khyber sent waves of protests in the province. Needless blood was shed in the unrest that followed. And now, there is a movement for a Hazara Province.

The major question that confronts us is, should these divisions be on the basis of ethnicity or language or tribal loyalties?  Let us assume, the government gives in to the demand of a Hazara Province. Will we not be frittering our problems to ethnic levels thereby driving in the schism between different ethnic races even deeper than already exists? Will this not lead to a demand by other pressure groups for a province of their own? Pakistan came into being as an ideological state. Will more provinces born out of ethnicity tear it apart? Will this destroy, even more, the concept of one nation? All these and many more questions rear their ugly heads like Hydra, the mythological many-headed serpent. I do not question the genuine grievances of the people leading to the demand. I do, however, question their creation as demanded, on ethnic basis. Creation of more provinces on the basis of ethnicity, will only acerbate the feeling of isolation.  This is a self-destruct tendency. We have witnessed this feeling and the havoc it created, in 1971. In the absence of a strong leadership to act as a bonding force, a sense of depravation, created unbridgeable wedges resulting in tearing one of them apart from the motherland.

Does the creation of more provinces, or Administrative Units that I would rather call them, allow them to generate and collect revenues at the local levels? Along with it or even without it, the authority may also be given singly or in combination, of developmental planning, implementation, administration and management.

Will creation of more Administrative Units result in better management automatically? Whereas, this may bring the rulers and the ruled closer together, whereas, it will make those governing more accountable, and whereas, the issues besieging the people, may have a better chance of being addressed in a timely fashion, the fact remains, that this step must be based on honesty of purpose .If appointments on merit become the rule rather than an exception, any system, can achieve an unprecedented success rate as merit would, nay, should, deliver. Bifurcation into smaller units without a will to serve the people honestly will be of no use. It will not ensure an end to corruption and bad governance. This task if undertaken diligently, will be a stepping stone towards solving the multitudes of problems faced by the masses. It should be a means to an end, and not the end itself.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the will and vision of our country’s leadership, to deliver.

No system can succeed and no country can progress without its leaders subscribing to the thought of FDR, when he said, “There is no higher calling than public service”.

 [The writer is a lawyer currently teaching in the Mass communications Dept. of Beacon House National University].

Source
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [...] This cup of tea was served by: Wonders of Pakistan [...]

  2. 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. pip.law@hotmail.com

  3. [...] Editor’s note:The dilemma pointed out here by KHZ lies at the root of the Identity Problem faced by Pakistan. Please also read: “Do we need more provinces?” http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/pakistan-do-we-need-more-provinces/ [...]

  4. [...] Pakistan: Do we need more provinces 2. Why is USA targeting [...]


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