New Provinces in Punjab and Beyond: Why Not?

Posted on April 28, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

For as long as I can remember, I have heard passionate arguments about whether the four provinces of Pakistan should be divided into multiple smaller provinces. The discussion has, once again, gained momentum. This time its the issue of Karachi as a separate province and the the re-focus on converting Southern Punjab into a separate province (a ‘Saraiki sooba‘).

The political optics of the situation remain in flux, but there seems to be a growing sense that eventually some reordering of the provinces is on the cards. The constitutional changes under the 18th Ammendment also has a lot to do with this and as provinces take on new roles there is a sense of change and politicians are hedging their bets. I think all of this may be for the good – if, and only if, the decisions are taken sensibly and for overall administrative and policy improvement rather than just for political expediency. My question for our readers today is whether — irrespective of political motives — creating a new provinces is a good idea, including in Southern Punjab? And what this may mean, if anything, for other provinces?

First, let me put my own cards on the table. The first time I wrote about this subject was back in the 1980s – in an op-ed in The Muslim I argued for a total of 6 to 8 provinces (each of the current four provinces being redrawn along lines consistent with historic, linguistic and cultural affinities). My most radical idea, then, was to reconsider the provinces not just along the lines of existing provinces but across existing lines (to use language as an example, Hindko, Sindhi, Seraiki, and Pushto speakers all straddle across current provincial lines). My motivation then, and now, stemmed from demographic concerns of concentration of populations, resources and, therefore, power in one province and the attendant feelings of peripheralization felt by other provinces. Importantly, this can – and has – led to a politics of fragmentation and distrust where it becomes too easy to evoke distrust and disdain through legitimate as well as exaggerated fears. There is also the concern about fewer provinces strengthening a provincial group identity at the expense of a national identity as well as of more local identities. Importantly, in the case of the Saraiki belt, the local identity sentiment for a separate province is the strongest reason to support such an initiative.

After writing that piece I remember having protracted conversations on this with the late Dr. Mahbub-ul-Haq who had been arguing for a much more elaborate scheme that would end with there being 16-25 different provinces. Over the years I have become more and more sympathetic to his developmental argument: that creating smaller provinces will also de-centralize power and localize opportunities – each provincial capital requires a provincial capital infrastructure and create local employment and opportunities and therefore development opportunities get spread around the country rather than being centralized in a few locations.

I tend, therefore, to lean towards this idea. However, practical realities have tended to mute my enthusiasm somewhat. But, only somewhat. I realize, of course, the fractious politics that will be unleashed in the process of redrawing provincial lines, even though my hope has been that the coalitional politics that will emerge for having more units will be, in fact, less fractious than our current provincial frictions. There is also the practical matter that while in most of the country the affinities have long historical and cultural roots the demographics in urban Sindh are ‘modern’ and constructed through the traumas of sudden migration patterns. Not surprisingly, the resultant identity politics also tends to be more traumatic.

So, my own leanings on this are clear and I would support a Seraiki province, even if a more elaborate redrawing of provincial units across the country were not possible at this time. Three reasons would make me support such a move: (a) it is a deep demand of the area itself and (b) it begins to balance out provincial distributions and (c) amongst the various cases for provincial redrawings this is clearly the strongest case for the clear cultural and historic affinities and this could serve as an important first step.

I have been in this debate long enough to know that there can, and will, be many arguments against mine. So, lets please hear them. Is there a logic to redrawing provincial units? If so, why? If not, why not? I suspect it will not be so, but I hope people will focus especially on the longer-term national logic of such a move rather than whatever short-term political gains or losses this might mean to particular political operatives.

P.S. This post is an updated version of an earlier post published on July 3, 2009. It has been updated to reflect the current issues around this topic.

78 Comments on “New Provinces in Punjab and Beyond: Why Not?”

  1. Haroon says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:08 pm

    Very good argument. I think you make a very good case for why this should be done. I had always thought of this as political issue but the point you make about its development impact is also very important.

  2. OTTOMAN says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:11 pm

    It is a good idea to make smaller regions to better the administrative control as well as even distribution to power and resources. However I seriously question the motives of the Zardari government whose main concern is to break the back of their main rival and to make Sindh the biggest province. If their should be such a divide then t should be in all provinces.

  3. Haroon says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:11 pm

    Ayesha Siddiqa also has a good article on this in Dawn:

    More provinces?
    By Ayesha Siddiqa

    THAT Pakistan must be divided into smaller and more manageable administrative-cum-political divisions is an argument that one has heard for many years.

    After all, if India can have new states based on linguistic divisions, why can

  4. July 3rd, 2009 1:19 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “noooooooo”
    - “never…….unity is strength”
    - “don even think abt it!”
    - “nooooooooooo”
    - “never”
    - “not 2 but more…Punjab is bigger than Iran for God’s sake…”
    - “Well I guess if that strengthens the center on the cost of provinces and promote good governance as well as national unity… It’s the best thing to do.. if not.. then to hell with the suggestions and those who suggest them….”
    - “this shuld b decided by the ppl of Punjab!”
    - “There is no end of it….”
    - “Never…”
    - “will it solve any issue? Administrations either they are federal,provincial,city level remain silly,stupid and slow…….we need to change mindsets and in real terms EDUCATE the people….”
    - “noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    - “Atleast it would put to rest the allegations of smaller provinces that Punjab deprives them of their resources…All provinces should be equal and should get fair share of resources..Not just Punjab but all provinces should be suitably reshaped according to the long standing will of the people of many areas e.g. Haripur/Hazara, South Punjab, Bahawalpur, FATA, Pakhtun areas of Balochistan and even Karachi should be given the status of Province… But it is a very sensitive issue and demands extensive national debate…”
    - “I’m not sure what good or bad it would bring, but I do think one think will be for sure, we won’t have punjab for pujabi or Sindh for sindhi, so that racism may reduce. I may be wrong but I do this a light in this way.”
    - “no… not at all….”

  5. Daktar says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:22 pm

    I think it will only cause more problems and will the politics of making it happen is very very difficult. Let it be.

  6. Farrukh says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:30 pm

    I support the idea but I also think that we need to have more provinces. Maybe like the Mahbub ul Haq plan.

  7. Uzair says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:31 pm

    I support this notion of division for the reason mentioned above, i.e., Creating smaller provinces will also de-centralize power and localize opportunities – each provincial capital requires a provincial capital infrastructure and create local employment and opportunities and therefore development opportunities get spread around the country rather than being centralized in a few locations.

    Its about time the hegemony and monopoly of Punjab comes to an end and Pakistan is projected as Pakistan abroad too .. not as a place where only PUNJABIS live. No offense, but thats how Pakistan is perceived outside and you know what I am talking about and that has caused us much embarrassment already as a nation.

    Secondly, for a “HOPEFULLY” (pun intended) better governance, which seems even tougher than a dream in this land, dividing the land might help a bit in this cause.

    It is not like “BHARAT-MAATA” being divided into 2. It is for our own good … It is not redrawing the national borders (unless that’s on the cards, somewhere down the line by any operatives).

    This, to me, seems a fair deal. Not only Punjab, but every province needs to be re-modeled for administrative purpose provided we’re sincere in our intent to do so! Else, as we have already witnessed many a times, the mentality of our masses can cause havoc to each and everything!

    A hopeless nation can only think of more non-conducive measures to any problem. I have very little optimism for things to go the right way as pointed in the above piece.

    -Uzair

  8. Nostalgic says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:33 pm

    Haroon beat me to posting Dr. Siddiqa’s article… :) … here’s the link, all the same:

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/ayesha-siddiqa-more-provinces-379

    I am surprised, given how she says that the PPP stalwarts from Southern Punjab would be in favor of the partition, that PM Gilani has opposed it unequivocally…

    It would help the PPP in the Senate too, if the new province were to get the same number of seats as the existing provinces, which is surely will…

    My personal opinion is colored more by the romantic as opposed to the pragmatic… all distinct ethnic groups should have a province of their own, and the Seraiki speakers are no exception… the only trouble is, someone is bound to be feel hard done by: the Punjabi heartland in this case, the Sindhis if urban Sindh was made a new province, the Baloch if Northern Balochistan were to be merged with Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakhtuns if Hazara was separated from them…

    So be it… I want a Potohar province, with Rawalpindi as our capital ;) …

  9. Baig says:
    July 3rd, 2009 1:49 pm

    @Nostalgic. Actually I think a Potohar povince would be a very good idea. I think it is what Prof. Najam was suggesting in the post too. Baluchistan should also become two provinces or maybe the Pushto speaking part joined with Pakhtoonkhwa and the Hindko speaking part of NWFP a separate province. I think this will make the country stronger and actually increase national unity.

  10. July 3rd, 2009 1:55 pm

    The discussion continues to rage on the ATP Facebook Page; a few more comments from there.

    - “no”
    - “no, never. Instead i propose one unit instead of 1973 constitution. This is all because of this 1973 constitution. The constitution must be demolished and back again, i support one unit.”
    - “diz iz another foreign plot like datt in baluchistan just to dis -unite pakistanis!”
    - “I would not mind – if for the sake of easier administration and resource allocation – Punjab is divided into two provinces. Personally I do not see any threat to the national unity or any foreign conspiratorial theory behind this move.”
    - “yessssss”
    - “every one know that there is no substitute of unity so y any one wants to be further divisions …………already we called Punjabi,sidhi, Sarhadi Blochi,Kashmiri so no one like to called Pakistani and no one for pakistan they just speak rights of just their own province So what would be the result its further division ,,, we know better”
    - “No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No”
    - “Leave the Topic of Punjab, come on the point of Sindh :) :)”
    - “i don’t know why are we scared with creation/demarcation of the provinces…india did it too….and to remove all the different of we need make balance and equity…there is no harm. this is part of reforms in long run..”
    - “Pakistan Bachhao…..”
    - “These leaders can’t handle 4 provinces. How can they handle more??????”
    - “yeah it shud be done……!”
    - “well, punjab was never what it became post Pakistan…..the multan and some other districts in Southern punjab were part of Sindh historically; three districts (Rajanpur and two the adjacents to it) are baloch districts….. and if Sindhis, Balochie, Pakhtuns and PUnjabis have right to identy; so do the Serakis have it…and Seraki’s right to identity is compromised if they stay within Punjab..”
    - “Never”
    - “- the deicission should be based on what is good for Pakistan as a whole and not on the needs of any one sub-entity.

    - the decision should also take into account the wishes of people so maybe a referendum would be needed.

    - all provinces may need to be further divided as they are much too big eitehr area wise (Balochistan) or population wise (Punjba)

    - the new dividions should not be based on linguistic or any other groups, these should be solely based on what would be easier for administration. (I think most of us are sick of the slogans of Punjab for Punjabais and Balochistan for Balochis and so on. Pakistan is for Pakistanis and that is all. I claim equal right on all cities, towns and villages of Pakistan, where ever they may be. Pura Pakistan mera ghar hai)

    Let us not be afraid of positive change.”
    - “never…all such acts provoke separation…we should rather promote unity!all such tonts and everything is giving rise to such momentums round pakistan…..”
    - “n i think that no one should go for the like this button in this respect!!!”
    - “no way..dis iz not a way……….”

  11. M.I.Khan says:
    July 3rd, 2009 2:03 pm

    No! First,

  12. Nostalgic says:
    July 3rd, 2009 2:13 pm

    I agree Baig, my only concern is that there will be those who will feel that the new setup is to their detriment… I think Punjab will remain a big enough province for the Seraiki province (or Potohar) not to be a big blow to it, and Pakhtunkhwa may lose Hazara but gain Northern Balochistan, but what of the Baloch? They feel aggrieved already. The same can be said of Sindh.

    The big challenge, bigger than the actual creation of the new provinces, would be to pave public opinion in the nationalities that will feel hard done by, in favor of the new borders…

  13. Schajee says:
    July 3rd, 2009 2:55 pm

    Why re-demarcate/recreate provinces when you already have Districts. They are already established, have a Nazim and Naib Nazim, district council everything is in place.

    Start giving them more control over their affairs. Local law enforcement, education, health, finance, industries, take it all from provinces and give them to Districts. Trick is not to talk in terms of provinces and to transfer the power gradually.

    Give the people a reason to participate in government and once they realize that the stuff being taught in schools, or the people running the hospitals are under their control, they’ll think more locally. Keep the provincial governments involved for the first few stages as you slowly transfer power from provinces to districts. Once that is achieved, remove the provincial assemblies and government.

    Hence no need to talk of splitting up provinces and riling up people when you can do it cleverly.

  14. meengla says:
    July 3rd, 2009 4:31 pm

    For a country of Pakistan’s size and population there should be more provinces. After reading Dr. Aisha’s article I am convinced that Seraiki region should be a separate provinces.
    Better do it now in the spirit of ‘give and take’ then later when there will be a greater, forceful ‘demand’ for the Seraiki ‘Sooba’.
    But PM Gilani is also correct that this could open a ‘Pandorra’s Box’; I think he has Karachi, Quetta-Chaman, Hazara and other regions in his mind. The most difficult task will be the resistance of the ethnic Sindhis against a Karachi province and ethnic Baluchis against a Pakhtoon Baluchistan province.

  15. Hamza says:
    July 3rd, 2009 5:40 pm

    I think Dr. Najam has summarized a strong argument in favor of making a Seraiki province. However, it is pertinent to note that going down this road can open a Pandora’s box, especially if Karachi is made into a province as well. Given the always tense ethnic situation in Karachi, and the growing Pushtun population, such a demarcation could lead to further ethnic violence in the city.

    On an unrelated note, is it my imagination or are the ATP facebook comments less articulate, more emotional, and perhaps younger than the average ATP reader. Just going through the twitter like comments, I struggled to find any reasonable debate.

  16. Eidee Man says:
    July 3rd, 2009 6:41 pm

    I find this talk of slicing and dicing of this already-fragmented country into even finer pieces quite disturbing. The irony in the so-called rationale for further division is that these ideas are almost always cooked up by foreign or expatriate pseudo-intellectuals, and almost never by the local citizenry.

    I tend to agree with the PPP on a lot of issues, but this consideration is downright ridiculous. What if the same illogic is applied to Sindh, and a separate province including Karachi is proposed? I wonder how the Sindhi base of the PPP will react to that!

    We can think of grand schemes, and seemingly harmonious subdivisions along archaic ethnic and linguistic lines all we want, but the fact remains that Pakistan’s multitude of problems can be solved only, and entirely, by good governance.

  17. banjara286 says:
    July 3rd, 2009 7:11 pm

    i think that reconfiguration of pakistan in terms of new, more representative, federating units is an excllent idea. to this end, not only southern punjab, but creation of a pothowar region, as well as divisions in baluchistan and sindh should be affected.

  18. temporal says:
    July 3rd, 2009 7:16 pm

    adil:

    before numbers (of provinces) are flouted there should be some kind of consensus and modus operandi established by the parliament

    this would be the true devolution of power that might potentially be beneficial for the common man

    the nawabs and lords of Isloo are detached from reality

  19. July 3rd, 2009 8:15 pm

    While I agree to the idea of smaller administration units; the logics behind and the fruits it may bring, this may not be, the right time to begin the debate.

    We are already surrounded by a plethora of problems that our government has proven to be incapable of handling:

    - We have more than 2 million IDPs at our hands, and we have no plan for them.
    - Our army is at war at more than one fronts, and yet to conclude any single of them. Ironically, all the fronts are internal.
    - We have people deciding our matters, who seem to have no clue whatsoever, of what they are talking about.
    - We are yet to settle the issues in Balochistan.

    and the list continues ….

    Amid all this mess, I don

  20. Anonymous says:
    July 3rd, 2009 8:41 pm

    I think it’s another try of our politicians to divert our attention from the real problems. It may be a good idea but i would like to see people talk about our real, basic problems such as education, inflation, etc.

    We should let the people living in Punjab decide whether they want to divide it into Punjab and Seraikistan or not.

    I was born in Karachi, Sindh and i am Urdu speaking. I do not want to divide Sindh into smaller provinces. Knowing our politicians, i do not think it is a good idea because they will only use it to divide the people even more and we do not need that. If this idea backfires, things are going to turn very ugly in Pakistan.

  21. wsd says:
    July 3rd, 2009 9:34 pm

    Well this debate is very important and above all needs lots of vision from the leadership. I agree it is not the right timing but since this topic is being discused I wil present my thoughts on it.
    Why we need more provinces? Is it beacuse of rights issues,lack of services,lack of admistrative control or beacuse there is a perception/reality that BIG Brother ( Punjab) is exploiting smaller provinces? If it is the former reason alone then another important issue is that making more provinces is the solution to this problem or it will just cause more complications? On what basis more provinces should be formed? Area,population,language or something else?
    Let me present my views briefly.

    1)Why people want more provinces: Bcz of both lack of services and a perception that punjab is exploiting them.

    2)Will it solve the above problems: It will help changing the perception about Punjab’s domination as its clout will diminish but I do not think it will help with delivery of essential services. In fact look at Balochistan…. they have a province but still no provision of civil services and they want autonomy. So even if you have your own province it does not guarantee anything.

    3)On what basis new provinces should be created: i think population and area alongwith poverty/resources ratio should be the basis of creating new administrative units and obviously parliament should be doing it. I personally think that present districts provide a good basis for this and we need to improve on our local govt system ( direct election for Zilla Nazim and tehsil nazims with full autonomy and under a regular audit system supervised by federal govt.)

    4) The Real Problem: Lack of effective governance and instutuional approach to the issues. Until we improve this no matter how many provinces we create it will not solve th eissue rather we will end up in more chaos……

  22. Mahboob says:
    July 3rd, 2009 10:14 pm

    I understand that carving out new provinces on the lines of languages races nationalities historical backgrounds or administrative constraints is not a bad idea.India has successfully followed the course.But our trackrecord of other good ideals like Federalism,Parliamentary Form of Govt,Democracy,Islam,Socialism etc reflects how we would handle this issu,if situation arises.We could not accept Bengali as a national language in 1947 for majority tough in Canada French was accepted as such in 1867 for minority.Civil Rights,Liberty,Equality are only myths.Responsible Govt is still a dream.Illlitracy,yellow journalism,level of politicl paries and leadership make things worse.In fact power has not so for been transferred to the people of Pakistan.In a situation when patients[people]are ignorant,doctors[politicians] are inept and dishonest, what would happen with patients during surgery having no regard to any of medecine[above mentioned ideals] being employed.In nutshel iapprove the idea but my skepticism is obvious.

  23. July 3rd, 2009 10:30 pm

    More comments from ATPs Facebook Page:

    - “yes”
    - “i think pakistanis have forgotten an old saying: “divide and rule” this is exactly what are politicians are trying to do right now to divert the ppl from their own blunders and they’ve successfully done this. instead of debating on prices of petroleum products & electricity, the abolition of 17th amendment or the culprits who allowed the mangla break down to happen even though it could have been easily averted we are discussing whether punjab should be divided”
    - “2 provinces mean, 2 more CM’s, 2 more governors, 2 more provinces to deal with, a lot whole of new MPA’s and yes a lot more to feed the new adminstrators….what good it will do…i suggest make every district a province, make every body happy….but for that we need resources, we even can’t feed four provinces, what will we do with another….forget abouts who is punjabi, sindhi, balochis, saraki, hindku and pukhtuns…just focus that we all are Pakistanis….alot need to be done…once you divide Punjab into two parts, people of Hazara will demand another, people of Makran will demand another and so on…..is there any end to this stupid talk…is there anyone willing to take the lead and do something to save Pakistan…practically??? try to find answers with in u, rather blaming Pakistani people leaving in different provinces….”
    - “no it mst not!!!”
    - “is sy fiada kia ho ga……! i dont think so k is sy koie fiada hony wala hy…….1″
    - “It’s a MQM ploy to disintegrate Pakistan. It won’t finish here. Rather the story begins from here.”
    - “Our Pakistan now a days is threaten by verious dangers….”divide punjab” issue …. instead of UNITY all Pakistan …….
    it will not be wise political decission …..
    we have to think about:Pakistan’s
    UNITY not DIVISION !!! for God sake !!!!”
    - “NO!”
    - “never”
    - “No”
    - “no way”
    - “kabhi nahe”
    - “good idea.. JST LIKE ALL THE MUSLIMS R DIVIDED…. THEN LL B DIVIDED FURTHER.. HELLL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”
    - “DeSe fInKx wIlL LeAd 2 Da pRoBx lYk dIvIsIoN oV PaK!”
    - “Big things are difficult to handle than smaller things.

    Look people, division should not mean some kind of destruction.
    Simply saying: if a bigger area cannot be handled by a single government, then the area can be divided among two governments so that both can handle smaller area in better way.
    However, I’m also against such division, because in the past and present, what other provincial governments are doing is bad and so making another provincial government would be an edition to corruption”
    - “I THINK YES IT IS RIGHT PAKISTAN NEED IT”
    - “anti pak elements need it actually.”
    - “very fazool idea, who tell that ! ? :P”
    - “Not a good idea. A country that has already seen enough hatred and violence based on ethnicity, provincial lines does not need this. What exactly do you think this will accomplish? For history see how giving local power to MQM in Karachi helped Pakistan. Enough said.”
    - “no never”
    - “yes it must be”
    - “never!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    - “we all r already divided into 4 nations nd we r fitin lyk animal nd u wanna further divide it bad idea!!!”
    - “no problum if more proviences build . its just good for governes”
    - “no this will lead to more ppl deviding sindh NWFP n baluchistan …
    this will lead to horrible resultss …
    i m scared even to think abt that …”
    - “INSHALLAH never…”
    - “No none never!!!!!! Punjab was divided already in 1947 no more plz. I don’t want another migration. If you 11 million people VS 81 million and make province for them then What about Urdu Speaking in Karachi.
    This is conspiracy is done by MQM to make a base for demand Karachi province and i even don’t want this as well.”
    - “My home town is Bhawalpur and i have never experienced and any ethnic problem b/w Punjabi and Seraiki people.

    As far as Dera Ghazi khan is concerned. it is not no unusual that baloch are living there same case with Sindh near Sindh-Balochistan border. if you want to go to history then Northern Balochistan was the part of Afghanistan.

    As far as History concern Bhawalpur state was evolve from breaking of Durrani empire. Sindh ruled and captured multan and Bhawalpur regeion in history. Capturing territories doesn’t mean that it become the part of Sindh.

    If some people have says India have divided Punjab and consequences after 1966 till 1996 were in form insurgencies and ethnic riots.

    Do you think that we can bear this by disturbing a province who have 55% population?”
    - “yesh saraiki province wil bring more unity and streath to pakistan.as not only saraiki people want their province but in this way other provinces wil b stop blaming on punjab.
    lahore is faraway from rahim yar khan 10 hours drive so people want their ease and own rule within the boundries of pakistan.As we love pakistan”
    - “@Kashif i am from Bhawalpur, South punjab. If you think it is a demand then why seriaki nationalist parties won’t able win a single seat from National and provincial assembly. this is a lame reason What about someone living in Gawadar and want to go Quetta can you tell me how many hour he need to go there? As we love Pakistan too!!!!”
    - “Noo !!!!… why is it that we always think as punjabis,sindhis,balochis and pathans ???… why cant we think as PAKISTANIS !!!!! … that is what these bloody politicians want,divide the nation and ruin the country…fill up their bank accounts and then run away !!!… rascals… none of them is loyal to the nation or pakistan !!!… people need to WAKE UP !!”
    - “I think Yes…..It would not help politician It will help Pakistan and people of Pakistan …All depnd on Intention….May Allah keep Pakistan strong and united…..”
    - “No… It’s the worst idea of its kind in this regime.. We are already much divided.. it can only promote more hatred in countrymen.. nothing else can be gained…”

  24. Hassan Nasir says:
    July 4th, 2009 1:09 am

    one of the questions to consider before thinking of provincial divison……is the national entity and identity….historically, even as per modern definitions, Sindhis, Punjabis, Seraikis, Baloches, Pakhtuns, there were nations…..and Sindh and Punjab, irrespective of their current geographical forms, were separate states being part of Sindhustan… Read More (which later became Hindustan, then India, reference Empire of the Indus, Alice Albania)…..so we should avoid putting the Tuhmat of provinces on these nations…

  25. wasiq says:
    July 4th, 2009 1:21 am

    I am a Siraiki speaker from district Bahawalpur in Southern Punjab and have come to know the sentiment for a Siraiki Subah well over the last 30 years. The Siraiki areas of Punjab are very different from Northern Punjab and the distinction covers many intangibles, but language is where the divergence starts and, for me and others who I know, the distinction continues into the historical and encompasses the fact that much of Southern Punjab was a separate state for more than 200 years — then called ‘Bahawalpur.’ Symbols of the state and the use of Siraiki were discouraged in Punjab province as smacking of separatism. The siraiki language (and this is an example of an intangible greivance) went from being the official language of state affairs under Bahawalpur State to being associated with all those Southern punjab stereotypes of backwardness, being lazy, and being feudal. Southern Punjab is the womb of Pakistani sufism and the pir culture is probably stronger than it is in Northern Punjab. This area was also more disemboweled or, if you like, more decapitated by partition since, like Sindh, the entire Middle Class of professionals and technicians were Hindus. So we do differ from the Northern Punjabis of Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Jhang and having a separate province would certainly inject me with some fervor for returning to Pakistan to engage in local development.

  26. pakman says:
    July 4th, 2009 2:44 am

    yaaar.. there are many other important issues but National & provincial assemblies waste time in such kind of issues.. divide punjab in 2, give NWFP a name…

  27. Roshan says:
    July 4th, 2009 3:31 am

    I am also a supporter of seraikee province not because I am from that region but from the fact, the region has been neglected by the ruling elite from the area and other parts of country. The area is not only distinguished from other parts of Punjab due to its backwardness but also in cultural, lingual and topographical dimensions.
    The question is why raising the issue of cultural and ethnical identity is considered as an anti-Pakistan agenda. Its the ruling establishment which generally have had been tended towards right from the center, and always looked upon these identities issues as a threat to their AUTHORITY which it does not want to surrender in any case.
    Whenever, these identity issues are flashed, rather than thinking and evaluating the causes, they put it under the carpet by saying it a ‘SAAZISH’ against the country. I dont know when we will come out of this SAAZISH syndrome, and look upon the real issues. I agree with Adil, that we need to look into this issue with development and perspective which itself integrates cultural and ethnical issues.
    This issue has been recently flashed in the media and also in Punjab Assembly but has been called as SAAZISH by PML and brushed aside by PPP.
    Now, I feel that it would be hard for both of mainstream political parties to hush up the issue for a very long time. It seems that people now are more informed and have less trust on the leaders. If these political parties deny their right to development, it would be hard for them to sustain popularity in the area. If not now, these parties would be facing hard time in next elections to get the support in that region.

  28. Wajdan says:
    July 4th, 2009 3:45 am

    The demand for new provinces is not new. Pakistan definitely needs new provinces and not just in Punjab. The need of the hour is to convert every division into a province. That would enable effective administration and decentralization of power.

  29. zameer khan says:
    July 4th, 2009 5:19 am

    Fouzia Wahab have clearly mentioned their stance upon new sriaki province. President Zardari has clearly mentioned that in 1973 constitution there are 4 provinces so at this critical juncture of Pakistan

  30. takhalus says:
    July 4th, 2009 6:01 am

    Pakistani’s are very insecure people..as soon as an idea comes around which makes sense redistribution of powers greater federalism …it becomes a sazish. the US has states with populations the size of some pak cities, factually Southern Punjab is discriminated against..some of the poorest districts in the country after balochistan and FATA are in southern punjab ..how would it destroy pakistan if there is another province or at the very least a separate secretariat?

  31. readinglord says:
    July 4th, 2009 8:49 am

    Punjab already stands divided. Why not unite it before it is redivided. I say, is it the time to raise such issues when we are fighting the war for our survival as a nation?

  32. talal says:
    July 4th, 2009 9:38 am

    dear adil sahab and all readers..

    it may be right that punjab should be divided for whatever reasons that have been presented here, but i think at the given circumstances this issue becomes even insignificant to be on the table for discussion. i am pretty sure all of us realise that our country is going through some serious crisis at international/national level which needs to be addressed immediately. i would say instead of getting distracted by such issues we should focus on how we can get rid of this moronic government or else how we could get them change their policies, which are not really serving in the best interest of Pakistan and its people. And most of all how we could ask them to for GOD sake stop begging for money from other countries. Because if we don’t take any action now than we will have no right to complain even if the price of a single roti shoots up to rs 20. this is not exaggeration. it is very much possible. lets talk about that. infact forget talks, we always do that, lets come out of our bloody cosy couches and do something for our survival.

  33. Memoona Rizvi says:
    July 4th, 2009 10:54 am

    If Punjab is to be divided then the rest of the provinces should also be divided for practical administrative reasons.

  34. Zia says:
    July 4th, 2009 3:00 pm

    I would rather see division on the similar lines as suggested by Dr. Mehboob. It will result in easier administration, more localized development & opportunities so that there is less migration to the major cities and enhanced national identity.
    There is always a right time, sooner the better.

  35. ali says:
    July 4th, 2009 3:21 pm

    It is said that smaller provinces are easy to govern. But in Pakistan smaller provinces will have less muscles and will have a hard time getting funds from the Feds.It will also have to incur other expenses like building of luxurious chief ministers and governor houses and taking care of other expenses of the kitchen cabinet and city and provincial government expenses, besides distribution problems of water movement of wheat etc , a new class of local influential people will also arise who will rule these provinces. As far as I know the seraiki speaking people of Pakistan always wanted a province of their own, but in any case this is a question that should be debated thoroughly and warrants a referendum not for the creation of just two provinces in the punjab but other areas as well.

  36. Iftikhar-ur-Rehman says:
    July 5th, 2009 6:18 am

    Some very close friends i.e. USA,India, Israel and NATO nations are bent upon breaking up Pakistan and they have even printed the future maps our ( God forbid) broken country. Instead of wasting precious time on discussing the division of Punjab, we , the awam and our (geaders ) oops sorry LEADERS should worry more about Baluchistan and resolve its problems so that the Blauchis are brought back into our Pakistan, which most of the young Baluchis are bent upon breaking away from.

  37. July 5th, 2009 8:55 am

    SOBA INTAZAMI UNIT HA, JAB SOBA MA DIVISION, DISTRICT AUR TEHSIL BAN SAKTA HAN TU, TU MULK MA SOBAY KEYO NAHI

  38. zia m says:
    July 5th, 2009 4:43 pm

    I think it makes sense to have more provinces to imrove governance,lesson ethnic tension and create more jobs.
    But i don’t believe this is the most opportune time to do so.Our country is facing a crisis,army has a big challenge in front of her.

    We need to strengthen our institutions first.
    Judiciary is finally moving in the right direction but the Parliament still has a long way to go.We need to empower the parliament in order to have a funtional democracy.
    Political parties need to start holding their own elections to establish democratic system.
    We have not been lucky enough to have an uninterrupted political process.We need to support the current government any division of provinces based on politics will harm the political process.
    We consider ourselves first Muslims then punjabis,sindhis,baluchis and pathans,being a Pakistani comes last.
    Lack of education is the main cause of most of our problems.
    We should establish a commission consisting of members from all ethnic groups to look into pros and cons of further division of provinces.

    Just my 2 cents.

  39. Aqil says:
    July 5th, 2009 6:10 pm

    There is a strong development argument in favour of smaller provinces. With more provinces, we will have new provincial capitals, and that means new urban centers with their own development infrastructure. If nothing else, the bureaucrats in charge of the new provinces will naturally want to make their own lives more comfortable, which would automatically result in new roads, some health facilities, and hopefully a few schools as well. There would be new economic opportunities for people living near the capital, not to mention the obvious benifits of the government being closer to the people. From this point of view, I think Punjab should be divided into 3 provinces (southern, northern and central) whereas each of the 3 smaller provinces should be divided into at least two smaller provinces.

    Having said that, politically this issue is very tricky, especially the implications for Sindh due to the MQM’s fascistic tendency. So not sure if it can be done. Perhaps the best time to do this was when one unit was being broken, or alternatively, I wish Zia had done this instead of creating the MQM. In the present situation, at least there should be no separation of MQM dominated areas from the rest of Sindh unless MQM learns to behave in a civilized manner.

    I think the discussion on creating new provinces should be opened up and needs to continue for some time before any action on this front. In the mean time, at least the district govt system needs to be strengthened.

  40. Raj says:
    July 5th, 2009 10:55 pm

    India had something like 16 states after 1947.

    Today it has something like 26 and a few more new states will come into existence over next few years.

    India is also politically more united and cohesive than perhaps ever in its 5000 year history.

    There may be a lesson there.

  41. Raj says:
    July 5th, 2009 10:59 pm

    On the Indian side, east Punjab , after 1947 was itself divided into 3 provinces
    Punjab,
    Haryana
    Himachal Pradesh.

    Each of those 3 states rank very high in India in economic terms.
    More recently UP , Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have been divided.

  42. Rida says:
    July 6th, 2009 12:59 am

    May i please have the contact number of Mr Adil Najam???

  43. Sehal says:
    July 6th, 2009 9:28 am

    To avoid this political nonsense that we have been seeing throughout the history of Pakistani politics, I think the division of the provinces should not be based on languages or districts. We should just use a grid pattern and divide the whole Pakistan into near about 20 provinces more or less equal in size. So in future no one can use ethnic card in their politics.

  44. Umar Shah says:
    July 6th, 2009 4:50 pm

    The key is in trying not to fix something thats not broken…Further fragmentation of Pakistan won’t solve it’s problems. Inculcating a sense of nationhood ( a discussion beyond the scope of this comment) in our children will help our identity as an independent country last longer. We must go back to nationalistic fundamentals and seek direction in the words of Jinnah if we ever plan on becoming a nation.

  45. Shahid says:
    July 7th, 2009 12:52 am

    I think dividing Pakistan into ethnic languistic regions (provinces) will be a disaster. Has any country in the world has divided their country on language basis? Country is only divided into provinces soley for Administration purposes. Please don’t PLAY with Pakistan anymore for political gains. All languages of Pakistan are different flowers in a bunch.

  46. Mateen says:
    July 7th, 2009 10:39 am

    NO THANKS!!! I am a Potohari Punjabi and I for one do not want a separate province and am happy to be part of Punjab. This is just ridiculous to divide Punjabis and Pakistanis especially when we have so many other issues at hand.

    The people who thought this may mean well but I think it is a very very bad idea. You can create districts instead and give districts more power on the lines that we already have why create more provinces?? Instead of developing concepts that we already have we always create nonsensical new ideas and will abandon them as well after some time. One of the Pakistani nation’s biggest problem is that we never focus or develop on what we have but always have a new idea or “oh look India did this so we should do it as well”. Who cares about what India did or did not do – you people need to partition your minds from India now as well!!!

  47. rta2001in says:
    July 7th, 2009 1:05 pm

    Since independence India has always been rather generous about conceding new states whether these are along language or ethnic lines. Has it worked. Its a mixed bag. Vigorous agitations for seperate state die down once the demand is conceded. There is hardly any change for the better. For one the same bureaucracy is now multiplied. If there is no strong political leadership the state fares miserably. What matters is better governance. You can devolve power to the grassroots in several other ways.

  48. Aqil says:
    July 7th, 2009 1:23 pm

    I am in favour of smaller provinces (though not on ethnic lines) but I also agree with the comments that improving the district govt system is part of the solution. The danger is that the politicians are generally against devolution and want to roll it back or scale it down badly. We need to write letters to politicians and the media to demand that devolution should not be reversed. it would be a big tragedy if they were allowed to abolish the system without any opposition from the media and civil society

  49. Dr. Qureshi says:
    July 7th, 2009 1:26 pm

    I think breaking up the provinces in to smaller units (maybe a total of around 10-12) is urgently needed for administrative reasons alone. The political benefits just add to that.

    Most important is the FATA question. We will have to integrate them fully into Pakistan and now is the time. That will mean a FATA province of some sort. That will be the opening for also dealing with other provinces.

  50. Usman says:
    July 10th, 2009 6:55 am

    The issue is NFC awards. Punjab will get more if it is divided and PML-N will ensure it always has a government in one province, altho directly denying they have influenced the people asking for it.
    We have ditricts for management, if population or cities in a district grow out of control then it should be subdivided into two districts but dividing provinces is such a ridiculous idea.
    What are politicians upto!, today divide the provinces tomorow divide the country, what the hell!, this is high terrision and anyone with such ideas should be hanged because I want to see a united Pakistan.

  51. zia says:
    July 10th, 2009 8:27 am

    Dividing our country after ethnic provinces is not so good idea it will only creat more rasicm. I belive we should end provinces based on ethnics and replase it with town governments and no provinces.
    This how Karachi, Lahore, Gujrat, Jehlum, Peshawar, Quetta and so can have its own government.

  52. Bilal says:
    July 10th, 2009 4:18 pm

    I dont think that Punjab or Pakistan should be divided into anymore pieces. as its an old saying United we Stand Divided we fall

  53. Azim Khan says:
    July 13th, 2009 8:12 pm

    The question is not about punjab being divided , the question is when Siraiki’s will get its rights

    Its been now almost 30 years , since this strugle has been started it should end now .

    This is not the division of Pakistan , why all screaming like Pakistan is going to be divided. Calm down you guys .
    The most important thing southren punjab is always been neglected.
    This should not hurt any one . Its not the division of Pakistan . Calm down .

  54. Khwaja Aftab Ali says:
    September 20th, 2009 12:43 pm

    Hearty Eid Greetings to the People’s Prime Minister of Pakistan and special appreciation for the recent development activities in Multan greater area. Would prime minister be kind enough to work on a mega project for this neglected area of Southern Punjab to create enough jobs which may stop poor people of this area to be exploited in big cities of the country. Last but not least, if the Prime minister could arrange to move/ transfer the Head Quarters of Pakistan Railways in Multan area-the real center of the country to boost under developed area and provide an opportunity to earn fortune by selling railways expansive land in Lahore, mostly used for railway officers’ residences. I hope PM will do his best as no one stays for ever on this authoritative important positions. Sincerely , Khwaja Aftab Ali, Advocate/ I.P. Attorney
    ——————————-

    FIVE REGIONAL CITIES OF PAKISTAN should be
    upgraded with in the provinces in the country. 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’s 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,1979-88) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney-first & the only Pakistani lawyer who earned Intellectual Property laws scholarship in USA,presently residing in Florida, USA. all_languages@hotmail.com

  55. Mustafa Kamal says:
    September 21st, 2009 12:57 pm

    Iran has 30 provinces, Afghanistan has 23 provinces, India has 28 provinces (India split punjab and created Haryana).
    Netherlands is same size as Sindha and it has 12 provinces. Turkey has 81 provinces, France has 22 Regions, Thailand has 75 provinces. Pakistan should divide 4 into 15 provinces. I think it would be great for Pakistan. We need divide the provinces and rename them, remove the sindh, punjab and balochistan.

    http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/1540/pakistannewmapvg5.jpg

    ” Originally Posted by [URL="http://www.chowk.com/interactors/37929"
    nangaparbat[/url]]When will these Punjabis realize that they have ruined Pakistan from its inception and they are close to putting the final nails in the poor coffin. They pissed off the Bengalis, bomed the Baluchis, killed Pathans, ruined the Sindhis, and have totally alienated the Mohajirs – not to mention what they have done to the Kashmiris and the poor Biharis, stranded in BD. I say, split Punjab into at least three or four smaller provinces and the problem will be solved. That is what India did to E. Punjab, and it worked. Good LucK”

    Some people also suggested that Punjab should be split into North, South Punjab and Bhawalpur.
    http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/2240/testot4.png

    “To stabilize and develop Pakistan government should consider creating smaller multi-ethnic based provinces.”

    “The four provinces, FATA, and northern area will be divided into 15 small provinces. Divide FATA into 3 smaller provinces. In reality this will make the federation more balanced and address the grievances of smaller provinces against Punjab. It will also elimination the dominance of MQM in Karachi and dominance of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and PPP in Interior Sindh.

    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.”

    http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/8655/pakistannewmapdemosa0.png

    New political (dissolve all the current political parties and create new political parties which will be part of Pakistan government ) & economic system, mix of socialism and free market capitalism is best for Pakistan.

  56. Talha Bin Masood says:
    September 22nd, 2009 4:14 am

    @ Bilal says: July 10th, 2009 4:18 pm
    “I dont think that Punjab or Pakistan should be divided into anymore pieces. as its an old saying United we Stand Divided we fall”

    i would just like answer your concern, my friend that dividing Pakistan into more provinces has nothing to do with the “Unity”, its just a means of providing a better organization. As far as unity is concerned as the current four provinces are living with Unity (of whatever extent) then 12 or 16 provinces could also live like that.

    Suppose if we accept your argument then what do you think? why is the need of having even 4 provinces? why shouldn’t we combine all 4 into 1 i.e. Pakistan?.

    I give you another example if you are given a 4000 yard plot to build a house, how many rooms will you build in that? only 1? or 4?….if you ask me, I think I’ll really have to put an effort to think about the overall design (no. of rooms, to make it simple) which will be based upon my requirements i.e. How many people will be living in that house? How many families are there? What families are bigger in size and what are smaller? Which family have kids, which have elders? Which family have Old age people etc. etc……so I’ll have to put up a design catering the needs of all of these people. And don’t you think Pakistan having a total population of over 16million needs a better geographic structure??

    I totally support the idea!!

  57. Joe Conseico says:
    November 3rd, 2009 3:50 pm

    It would be a good idea to further divide the provinces so they can be managed easily but first Pakistan need to resolve internal problems. FATA, NWFP and Southern Punjab need to clean from extremist and terrorist. RAW (India), MASAD (Israel) and CIA is taking advantage of the weak Pakistan government and current situation to destabilize Pakistan.
    Why would Obama allow CIA to destabilize Pakistan? Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is involved in drug smuggling from Afghanistan. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the president (Hamid Karzai) of Afghanistan, gets regular payments from the CIA and has for much of the past eight years. CIA is directly working with RAW to destabilize to divide and capture part of the Balochistan so they have route to smuggle drugs out of Afghanistan. This is one of the reason USA/CIA doesn’t want Pakistan to fence and mine the PAK/Afghan border.
    George Bush government support CIA, Obama, Hillery all supporting CIA and RAW agent working in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This has further weaken Pakistan government and law and order situation is getting worse. There is also pressure from India, India keep blaming Pakistan for it’s internal problem, staging Bomboy attack and blaming Pakistan. The war between India and Pakistan is inevitable, whether it is about water distribution, (Indus Basin Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan) or 62 years old Kashmir conflict. “A conflict over land between the people of Kashmir and the government of India will soon become a thing of the past. On the other hand, a water war between Kashmir and Pakistan is inevitable in the future.”

    http://img524.imageshack.us/i/indiapakistan2015.jpg/

  58. Fatima says:
    April 9th, 2010 6:16 am

    (please read all of it) I am sorry but I disagree with this thought. Together we stand and divided we fall. This quote is a very popular one which proves that Pakistan should defiantly not be divided into smaller provinces in my opinion. It is to me like breaking Pakistan, itself apart. Of course, it is one country and most people think that provinces do not make much of a different but they do make a lot of it. If provinces start fighting with each other, then what will be left of Pakistan? The people who will rule the province will be the only one who will get any advantage out of it resulting in money. The important thing is that people should think Pakistan is one, we all are one, tto forget about their provinces and unite together to save the recent circumstance but as this is not happening, more provinces will be divided and the more Pakistan will break apart.

  59. Fatima says:
    April 9th, 2010 6:21 am

    (Please read this all) I disagree with this thought. Together we stand and divided we fall. This quote is a very popular one which proves that Pakistan should defiantly not be divided into smaller provinces in my opinion. It is to me like breaking Pakistan, itself apart. Of course, it is one country and most people think that provinces do not make much of a different but they do make a lot of it. If provinces start fighting with each other, then what will be left of Pakistan? The people who will rule the province will be the only one who will get any advantage out of it resulting in money. The important thing is that people should think Pakistan is one, we all are one, tto forget about their provinces and unite together to save the recent circumstance but as this is not happening, more provinces will be divided and the more Pakistan will break apart.

  60. Jamshed says:
    April 9th, 2010 12:08 pm

    Pakistan has seen enough provincial problems.A recent example is the fuss that has been created over the renaming of the NWFP.Punjab should be left as it is.

  61. September 15th, 2010 2:34 am

    PUNJAB PRVINCE MUST BE DIVIDED INTO TWO PART BECAAAAACUSE ONE DIG POLICE BAHAWAL PUR CAAAAN NOT CONTROL UPTO RAAJAN PUR DISTRICT

  62. Khwaja Aftab Ali, Florida, USA says:
    November 21st, 2010 6:31 pm

    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 introduced 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

  63. HaroON says:
    April 28th, 2011 11:17 pm

    I think with teh 18th ammendment in place now we should have many more provinces. Something like 17 (1 corore people per provinces). This will change national politics and for the good and politicians will have to think more about their constituents.

  64. Gardezi says:
    April 28th, 2011 11:20 pm

    Having more provinces will dilute ethnic hatred. Also it will dilute the importance of larger provinces reduce political tensions and drams based on any one province. So, I say it is a good idea.

  65. ikhlaque chan says:
    April 29th, 2011 12:46 am

    Why not drop the idea of provinces?
    In stead we can adopt bigger districts.
    That may reduce the province nationalism.

  66. Z says:
    April 29th, 2011 4:35 am

    Make more provinces or states or whatever one calls it..maximum size to be not more than 10 million [ should be reduced to 5 in the next stage]. More than that is not manageable and can not be coherent.

  67. Shafiq says:
    April 29th, 2011 1:13 pm

    There seems to be strong support here for more provinces and have cited examples from India, Iran and Holland etc. However, there seems to be big differences between those countries and Pakistan. In Holland politicians act and decide in the interest of their country – not saying that perks are not there. In Pakistan we have large cabinets, our politicians decisions are for commission, perks family benefits and with more provinces would we not have more VIPS, more police for their protection and escort duties, bureaucrats corrupt self-serving politician from the same families. And all financed and supported from the poor suffering individuals and foreign loans with even less being diverted towards the development, education, health.

    Yes do increase the number of provinces but lets first put the house in order.

  68. Shez says:
    April 29th, 2011 2:18 pm

    Karachi should be made a province. The so-called representative party of Karachi has let its citizens down every time. It has given them nothing. At least give them a province of their own. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening as the British leader of the party is vacationing in Switzerland and the once-poor MNAs are now living in DHA. Such a shame!

    Ordinary Karachiites should stand up and raise their voice for a separate province.

  69. Sajjad Junaidi says:
    April 29th, 2011 7:24 pm

    I would say, abolish all provinces and make small municipalities or districts. We do have them any way, so just need to get rid of one layer of bureaucracy, i.e provincial government. One Pakistan, not divided into race and language but into small communities.

  70. sidhas says:
    April 29th, 2011 8:10 pm

    Couple of points.

    The idea should be whether or not New province help good governance and long term stability. If yes, go ahead make more provinces. Actually, every community should have right to make province just like all nations have right to self-determination and they have passed the litmus test for self determination which self gonverance. Likewise, each community should have right to form province.

    Second point: This should have been done sometime back when East Pakistan was still with us. Instead, we made One Unit to form parity between West Pakistan with East Pakistan that in turn stoked fires of ethnicity in West Pakistan.

    Conclusion:

    Though ground realities haven’t changed and become harsher and though primordial identities still persist with vengenance. This irrationality will subside only when there is incentive for all parties to come to the table and reach a decision. I think South Punjab is a crazy mess and I am sure people will gladly let go. Who needs Tribals and Talibans.

  71. Safar Shah says:
    April 30th, 2011 9:57 am

    Sounds like a good idea to create small fiefdoms, ruled by local feudal lords. Similar to what British had done.

    Without a strong federal system in a tribal society like Pakistan’s you will only create small exploitive fiefdoms, ruled by the local dominant backward tribe, creating more chaoistan like the friendly tribal paradise of afghanistan.

    Pakistan’s backward tribal society needs a progressive strong federal center, not decentralized tribal fiefdoms.

  72. Khuram Khan says:
    April 30th, 2011 4:26 pm

    Hats off to Zardari spin doctors.First it was ZAB case petition and now this.We deserve such rulers.Nothing is going to change. We have to change. Will we?

  73. SM says:
    April 30th, 2011 8:41 pm

    @ Khuram Khan
    I 100% agree with you. This is another stunt or “topi drama” and we are all part of it.
    Secondly, if we cannot control just 4 provinces, can we control more with such a weak central govt?

  74. Ali Dada says:
    May 2nd, 2011 8:14 am

    I am from Karachi and I believe that Karachi city (and some surrounding land) should be a separate province. We are not Sindhis and we don’t care for the Pathan, Punjabi, and Sindhi politics. I repeat, Muhajjir majority of Karachi DO NOT support PPP, PML, or ANP.

    If Karachi is made a province, than the local Govt. can help to solve real issues Karachi has.

  75. omar says:
    May 2nd, 2011 10:26 am

    Considering the current situation, mere bringing up such a topic, in my humble opinion, is shallow and naive to say the least. To Balance out Provincial distributions?? Really, of all the traumas Pakistan has and is going through, THIS is what you spend time thinking about? And please do NOT try to link this with any of the major problems that we are facing!
    @Ali Dada Such ignorant shallow mentality is the root cause of most of our problems, such people who are so stuck up with their “we MUHAJIR” crap need some serious public spanking. May Allah eradicate such shallow mentality forever.

  76. Habiba says:
    August 10th, 2011 10:49 am

    Pakistan is facing the lot of problems one of the major problem is ‘Terrorism’so as far as my opinion is concern its necessary to make new provinces not only in Punjab but also in other three provinces.

  77. Waqas says:
    August 12th, 2011 12:27 am
  78. Khwaja Aftab Shah says:
    December 31st, 2011 12:08 am

    Pakistan’s Ignored Rural Areas
    By Khwaja Aftab Ali
    Florida. U.S.A.

    Five regional cities should be upgraded within the provinces in Pakistan: Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/Larkana in Upper Sindh, Jehlum/Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province.
    These cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although they have their own history, culture and languages. Dera Ismail Khan in the South of Pakhtun khwa/MWFP is under siege, Multan/DG Khan in the south of Punjab is the next target of religious extremists, Sukkar/Larkana is being ruled by criminals, Gawadar/Qalat appears troublesome. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals trivial reasons.
    A good number of people are also forced to travel to big cities to earn livelihood as the local feudal who own majority land treat the common man as their virtual slaves.
    Creation of regional government and upgrading of regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these areas. Circuit benches of the High Courts are already functioning in these places and what is required is additional staff to beef up different departments engaged in additional work at the provincial capitals.
    The concerned authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given to upgrade/build the airports, TV stations, civic centers, libraries, hospitals, educational institutions and bolstering investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad. Foreign firms should be encouraged to create jobs in the areas as the majority population in rural Pakistan does not have enough resources to survive.
    In this context I am reminded of the conditions obtaining in Iran before the Islamic Revolution when rural Iran continued to be ignored and the capital Tehran was developed and called the ‘Paris of the Middle East’. A couple of big cities, including Isfahan, and the Caspian Sea area were developed because of the attraction they possessed for foreign tourists but the rural area was ignored and plagued by problems of sorts as it was ruled by ruthless police and intelligence forces. It was but natural that the rural population supported the Islamic Revolution and moved to Tehran and other big cities and later ruled the cities. After the revolution, the new government was motivated to develop the rural areas of Iran.
    There is thus a pressing need to set up a fund to upgrade/build the regional cities in Pakistan under the aegis of the public and private sectors. Our foreign friends and Pakistanis living abroad could be asked to participate in this singularly important developmental effort.
    ——————————————————————————
    Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
    © 2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved

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