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More Provinces for Pakistan by AHSAN WARSI

Census has been completed in Pakistan after 8 years delay of its scheduled time but its details haven’t been made public yet.

According to an unofficial report, population of Pakistan will exceed from 230 million in next few years which will definitely increase the risk of more unemployment and social problems. Formation of more provinces has became inevitable for Pakistan while facing this threat. When Pakistan came into existence, there ware only 5 provinces with net population of 30.25 million.

After 8 years of independence, Pakistan merged all provinces into one unit through an administrative act of Ayub Khan though it was later abrogated by the next president,Gen Yahya Khan in July 1970. Paksitan lost the biggest portion of the population and one province, EAST PAKISTAN in 1971 and was left with only 4 provinces. Today Pakistan has the same 4 provinces. Although Gilgit Baltistan has been made an administrative unit but it has less legitimate powers as compared to other provinces.

Pakistan is facing a lot of challenges today. The major among them is fair distribution of resources among cities and provinces and the system has failed to eliminate sense of deprivation from various nations of the country. the Country with a population of 30 million in 1947 has 200 million citizens in 2017 but is still being ruled in the same pattern as 50 years ago. Pakistan houses the people belonging to various ethnicities. According to the population, Punjab is the largest province of Pakistan having a population of approximately 120 million and 36 districts. One chief executive manages all affairs of these districts. It is impossible that a single chief executive easily address or hear the issues of such a large number of population. Subsequently, he can’t keep an eye on issues of all these districts.

This challenge is present for other provinces as it is for Punjab. In KPK, the minority Hazarwaal have their concerns too. Similarly, Urdu speaking community in Sindh province is struggling for their fundamental rights for last 40 years. Sense of deprivation can easily be seen in Mahajirs of Sindh because of quota system, unfair distribution of resources, unbalanced opportunities of  employment  absence of universities in few districts and unsatisfactory condition of health and other basic departments in urban districts which is going more worse every passing day. In order to overcome with these problems, formation of new provinces or administrative units is compulsory as that may eliminate the sense of deprivation among all small nations of the country.

In last 10 years, we have witnessed resolutions for new provinces submitted to the legislative houses. Various political parties strongly expressed strict concerns against these resolutions. Few political elements are seen declaring it as an act against the country or division of country and few called it as agenda of foreign agencies. Consequently, even if the resolutions were passed, they could not be implemented. If we take examples of various countries of the world, we see that countries with lesser population than Pakistan have more provinces as compare to Pakistan.

Few Years Ago, India announced formation of a new province, Telangana. Did India get weaker after the creation of more provinces? or did India get divided? Or spy  agency of another country played its role in creation of that province on demand of local public? Other countries with lesser population than Pakistan have more than  20 provinces. For instance, Afghanistan has population of 30m and 34 provinces. Malaysia has 24 provinces on population of 30m. Iran with 80 million masses has 31 provinces and in Turkey 80 millions people are living in 81 Provinces.

The record holder for most provinces in a country is a South American small country, Peru. It has 195 provinces with a population of near;y 35 million. Switzerland is not a densely populated country of Europe but it has 26 provinces. It should be noted that its population is one third of Karachi’s population.

So these countries got weaken or strengthen?  Issue of formation of new provinces rather than politicising the issue must be discussed seriously because Pakistan is a federal country and Federation  would get strong only if equal rights have been given to the people. It is possible only if the unbalanced population is managed by formation of new provinces, otherwise sense of deprivation of the deprived nations would  change into sense of alienation.

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