Friday, June 14, 2013

Naya Pakistan with 16 provinces - We need a new social contract

By: Shah Zalmay Khan
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Pakistan-proper consists of 4 provinces Punjab, KPK, Sindh, Balochistan and a special region FATA - a total population of approximately 180 million people and covering an area of nearly 796,000 Sq km (population+area of AJK and GB deducted from these figures). The population distribution (approx) is as under:
  • Punjab = 56% (or 100 million)
  • Sindh = 23.5% (or 40 million)
  • KPK = 13.5 % (or 25 million)
  • Balochistan = 4.5 % (or 9 million) 
  • FATA = 2.5 % (or 5 million)
Even a casual look at these figures suggests that the weightage of the country's pillars is severely uneven - Punjab overshadows all other provinces combined. This disparity is also reflected in the political setup of the country where Punjab alone gets 148 National Assembly seats out of 272 (directly elected) while the combined tally of Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and FATA is 124 seats.
The extreme disparity in population and political clout gives rise to severe problems at the federation level and even within Punjab where some communities, especially the Seraikis in the west and south complain of being neglected by the rulers of Lahore (Central Punjab). The movement for a Seraiki province has been around for years now.
A similar situation exists in KPK too where people of the Hazara region demand a separate province. Also people of the Pashtun belt (Zhob to Quetta) in Balochistan have been raising voices for a separate province.
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The debate on making new provinces normally gets hijacked by political motivations in all provinces. While the ANP or PPP would love to see Punjab divided; they don't like the same to be done in KPK or Sindh. Similarly while the PMLN may be demanding to carve up a Hazara province from KPK, they drag their feat on division of Punjab. Thus a debate that should have focused on the administrative & managerial benefits of creating smaller provinces, is soon overtaken by tempers shooting up at the slightest mention of division of a province. What is the way out then?
Well new provinces definitely need to be carved up from the existing ones. After doing some research on the subject, I - an ordinary Pakistani - propose a national scheme for creation of a total of 16 provinces in the country - 3 in KPK, 6 in Punjab, 3 in Sindh and 4 in Balochistan. Creation of the new provinces will have the following benefits, among others:
  • The 4 provincial capitals - Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta - get a disproportionately greater share of respective provincial resources while other major cities like Bahawalpur, Multan, Sukkur, Dera Ismail Khan or Khuzdar get neglected. However, with 16 provinces, we will have 16 cities as provincial capitals - which means more cities will join the relatively developed club.
  • Existing provincial capitals are too far away for majority populations of the respective provinces. Examples: People from Rahim Yar Khan or Dera Ghazi Khan can't reach Lahore easily; Ghotki folks find Karachi too far; Dera Ismail Khan is far away from Peshawar and Quetta is painfully far away from Gwadar or Turbat. With new provinces spanning smaller geographic areas, it will be easier for people to reach their respective provincial capitals.
Details of the scheme follow.
(Disclaimer: This proposal is entirely my own initiative and has nothing to do with the party I support).
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Provinces in KPK

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North Pakhtunkhwa
With its capital at Peshawar, this province may comprise of Peshawar Division, Mardan Division, Malakand Division, Kohistan & Torghar districts of KPK. The province may also incorporate 3 adjacent tribal agencies and 2 F.Rs of FATA i.e. Bajaur Agency, Mohmand Agency, Khyber Agency, F.R Peshawar and F.R Kohat.
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Central Pakhtunkhwa
With its capital at Bannu, Kohat or Dera Ismail Khan Khan, this province may comprise of Kohat Division, Bannu Division and Dera Ismail Khan Division of KPK. The province may also incorporate 4 adjacent tribal agencies and 4 F.Rs of FATA i.e. Orakzai Agency, Kurram Agency, North Waziristan Agency, South Waziristan Agency, F.R Bannu, F.R Lakki Marwat, F.R Tank and F.R Dera Ismail Khan.
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Hazara
With its capital at Abbotabad, this province may include Abbotabad, Batgram, Haripur and Mansehra districts of KPK.
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Provinces in PUNJAB

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Potohar
With its capital at Rawalpindi or Jhelum, this province may comprise of Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Mianwali and Khoshab districts of Punjab.
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Waseb
With its capital at Multan, this province may comprise of Multan, Khanewal, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur, DG Khan and Bhakkar districts of Punjab.
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South Punjab / Bahawalpur
With its capital at Bahawalpur, this province may comprise of Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Lodhran, Bahawlnagar and Vehari districts of Punjab.
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Central Punjab
With its capital at Faisalabad, this province may comprise of Faisalabad, TT Singh, Jhang, Chiniot, Sargodha, Pakpattan, Sahiwal and Okara districts of Punjab.
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North Punjab
With its capital at Gujranwala or Gujrat, this province may comprise of Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin and Narowal districts of Punjab.
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East Punjab
With its capital at Lahore, this province may comprise of Lahore, Shiekhupura, Qasur and Nankana Saheb districts of Punjab.
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Provinces in SINDH


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North Sindh / Larkana
With its capital at Larkana, this province may comprise of Ghotki, Kashmore, Jaccobabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Qambar Shahdadkot, Noshehru Feroz, Dadu and Nawabshah districts of Sindh.
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Central Sindh / Hyderabad
With its capital at Hyderabad, this province may comprise of Hyderabad, Mitiari, Jamshoro, TM Khan, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Tando Allahyar, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Badin and Thatta districts of Sindh.
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South Sindh / Karachi
With its capital at Malir, this province may comprise of Malir, Karachi South, Karachi East, Karachi Central, Karachi West districts of Sindh.
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Provinces in BALOCHISTAN


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South Pakhtunkhwa / Quetta
With its capital at Quetta, this province may comprise the Pashtuns areas of Quetta, Pishin, Harnai, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Zhob, Loralai, Qila Saifullah, Musakhail and Sherani districts of Balochistan.
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Central Balochistan / Kalat
With its capital at Kalat or Khuzdar, this province may comprise of Kalat, Mastung, Nushki, Chaghi, Kharan, Washuk and Khuzdar districts of Balochistan.
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East Balochistan / Sui
With its capital at Sui or Sibi, this province may comprise of Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Naseer Abad, Jafar Abad, Sibi, Dera Bugti, Kohlu and Barkhan districts of Balochistan.
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South Balochistan / Gwadar
With its capital at Gwadar, this province may comprise of Awaran, Panjgur, Gwadar, Kech and Lasbela districts of Balochistan. 
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In email conversations on this topic, a reader raised some questions which I tried to answer. Here are they:
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Question: Why so many provinces?
Answer:
People of smaller provinces complain about hegemony of Punjab which threatens the federation. Division of provinces will ease such tensions. Also administratively more manageable smaller units.
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Question: Won't it raise questions about separation?

Answer: Why would it raise questions of separation? In fact it will suppress any such questions. How? Because Balochistan (united) voices separation as a unit. When divided into 4 parts, separatist movement will weaken in all Balochistan parts because they will have new power centres and new dynamics, with a better administration & control.
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Question: Are these viable?

Answer: Geographically all these provinces are viable, consisting of adjacent areas. Ethnically too, these 16 provinces are more homogeneous ensuring that even neglected communities like Seraikis or Hazarawals or Mekranis have an almost homogeneous setup in their respective provinces. Financial viability in next question.
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Question: What about financial constraints?

Answer: Though there will be one-time expenditures of establishing 16 provincial headquarters (Sectts etc) but the allied benefits will make the costs justifiable. Also we will have 16 better developed cities (instead of 4-5) now.
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Question: What is the significance of 16 provinces in a small country like ours?

Answer: Pakistan is not a small country at all and 16 provinces is not too big a number either. Many other countries have large number of provinces. Turkey has a whopping 81 provinces. Afghanistan is a smaller country than Pakistan but has 30+ provinces. Iran also has 30+ provinces. Iraq has 18 provinces. Saudi Arabia has 13, Oman has 11 and so on.
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Question: Will it be fruitful?

Answer: In my opinion. it will be administratively, politically and (in long run) financially benefiting for Pakistan. The grievances of provinces will be lesser then. It will be possible to revisit key issues such as Kalabagh Dam, provincial autonomy and development.
Second opinions will be needed though. But at least the debate should start somewhere.
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Note: The maps shown in the blog are my own design (permission granted for reuse).
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The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA) and tweets at @ZalmayX (Just a volunteer; no official association with PTI)
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Disclaimer: This blog is not an official PTI webpage and is run by a group of volunteers having no official position in PTI. All posts are personal opinions of the bloggers and should, in no way, be taken as official PTI word.
With Regards,
"Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA Volunteers" Team.


2 comments:

  1. v nice idea, in the favour of pakistanisation

    ReplyDelete