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Think Beyond Politics for Smaller Units

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Farheen Rizvi
The News Blog

After National Assembly, Punjab Assembly has also passed the resolution for Saraki Province. The creation of this province has strong support from PPP’s current government. Saraki movement started in 1961 by a Saraiki nationalist Riaz Hashmi. The movement gained strength and momentum in the era of 70s while Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came in the picture as Prime Minister of Pakistan. But Zia ul Haq cope sent the Saraki leadership underground. In 1988 the movement reemerged with the death of dictatorship and with the arrival of the new era of democracy. PPP was in power but there was no ear to hear the Saraiki movement.

The support to Saraiki Province but ignorance towards Hazara Province movement shows that this is simply a political gambit by PPP which has already confused the opposition whose vote bank will be affected by the creation of more provinces in Punjab. Hazara’s demand is similar to Saraiki has not reached to the ears of PPP government because ANP is the ally of PPP in the current system who will be affected most by the Hazara Province. Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif came with the counter demand of dividing Sindh into more provinces, another political gambit shot by PMLN to break the vote bank of PPP in Sindh. This shows that two parties are busy countering each others’ politics rather than resolving the issues and bringing the right solutions on the table.

Currently, Pakistan needs smaller units with the administrative power in the hands of locals of those units. The appointments based on political affiliation have already damaged the performances of all the public run institutions like Police and education. The division of big provinces into smaller on the base of population can bring devolution of power to the people from the ruling class. The development will be inevitable if each unit will have the full autonomy to develop the area by using the local resources including Human resources and collecting taxes.

The state running hospitals in Karachi are full of patients from Interior Sindh and same is the situation in Lahore based public hospitals which shows that idea of imposing quota system to develop the rural areas in public sectors is failed and rural areas are still deprived from the basic needs. The elimination of any quota system will help disperse the population in different areas through the employment and education needs which can eventually eliminate the ethnic differences in future and more diversity in each city and not only in Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad.

The smaller units (more provinces) will break the power of larger political parties in the federal as well as on provincial level and the disappearance of single party rule at the centre and the growth of regional politics will bring more federal polity, and a more equitable sharing of power. While the slow process of elimination of ethnic division will bring the strength to Pakistan.

Not to forget that China is ruling under one constitution and currently administering 33 provincial level regions, 333 prefectural level regions, 2,862 county-level regions, 41,636 township-level regions and even more village-level regions. In 2011, former Chief Minister of UP, Kumari Mayawati tabled the bill of dividing UP into four smaller units while India already has divided into 28 states and 7 territories since the independence and . The above mention countries are growing stronger in terms of economy and gaining territorial strength in the region. The two states are the best example for our leaders to resolve the issues of the people through real politics rather than dragging the issues by their political gambit.

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Updated 18th May 2012 at 09:54 PM by Realpaki