Earlier, Altaf Hussain strongly supported the demand for more provinces. On the other hand, PPP has welcomed the notion as well with Firdaus Ashiq Awan hinting that the party might include the creation of a Seraiki province in its manifesto for the next elections. While Babar Awan during another reconciliation effort with PML(Q) gave the message that the land of five rivers (Punjab) is calling for fragmentation into five parts.
Administratively, there is no drawback of increasing the number of provinces. It is evident that the distance between the ruler and the ruled is increasing day by day. If the aim is better administration then even a common man thinks about the progress of the provinces during the past 63 years. Unfortunately, security concerns at the border areas, targeted killings in Karachi, instability in Balochistan and above all the suicide bombings have frequently depicted the inefficacy of Pakistan’s leadership.
Within the existing provinces, lukewarm or half-hearted efforts have been seen to raise the standard of living of people, ensure safety, reduce inflation and provide every child with his or her Constitutional right of education.
On the contrary, if the aim is to divide the provinces on the basis of ethnic backgrounds, culture and language, then this will prove out to be fatal for national integrity. This will be analogous to triggering sectarian disputes, linguistic differences and widening the already wide ethnic disparities among people of different provinces.
The purpose of bifurcation should be linked with the progress of Pakistan, envisaging manifold increase in participation of the people pertaining to the affairs of the state. The political will should be reflected by chalking out a road map for good governance which would be able to satisfy the masses by ensuring their proximity with the government and justice.
Also, the urbanisation and development of peripheral areas must be encouraged. In addition to this, the elected representatives instead of chanting slogans of nationalities, language and culture should be more responsive to the needs of their constituents and warmly accept open accountability. Without this, bifurcation will be null and void like any other developmental step which lacks political acumen and will.
This was originally posted in Pakistan Today newspaper on 30th April 2011