Essay on National Integration
National integration is a major problem of Pakistan and it is in turmoil condition here. Our politicians have always used “India’s enemity” as an element of integration. In our country, there are the following groups who have different aspects regarding nation building.
There is a group, which thinks that provinces should be given autonomy and centre should have responsibility of co-ordination among the provinces, foreign affairs, defence and budget distribution.
Another group with the base of “Two Nation Theory” think Islam as the only element of national integration.
The last group which includes both of the aforementioned groups to some aspects in its vision, consider India as a threat to our country and whole of the nation writes at this point against India.
Pakistan has a variety of cultures lingual groups and even religions and we lost our base of two nation theory in 1971 with the separation of East Pakistan and appearance of Bangladesh as an independent state. There was a same religion in East and West Pakistan but this element could not prevent the disintegration.
Moreover, after following provincial autonomy concept, we cannot even achieve national integration too. As there are different cultures, lingual groups, religions and ideologies in each province.
Using cross border element i.e. India as an element of uniting the nation against our enemy, our politicians achieved integration for a time being, but in actual, the problem remained as it is.
The reason behind this core issue is our politicians, as our leaders do not have clear image on the topic. After the independence of the country, the approaches of our political leaders toward the solution of the issue. The dictators mostly tried to suppress the nation to integrate it, but this approach made the problem more complicated. These approaches caused a war conflict in East Pakistan and we lost that part. After-wards Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, to escape from rebellion movements of different provinces for independence, declared the country as one unit. The formula of one unit acted positively in Bhutto’s period but the outcome was wose than before.
General Zia-ul-Haq used religion as an element of integration but that concept was person specific. In the beginning the formula generated its objectives but afterwards it failed.
In the period of Benazir Bhutto, Baluchistan became more sensitive regarding its integration with rest of the nation. Nawaz Sharif Government has to face crisis regarding the matter and religion and Indian threat were tried to be used as bases for integration.
Musharraf government also used its policies which has effect for time being. Now a days provinces autonomy is going to be appeared as a hope towards nation building. But this provincial autonomy is government specific and not public specific. As the politicians take steps to save their governments and their present. The future is also kept in mind, but this future is the personal future of the political leaders but the steps taken are not about the future of the public and future of the nation.
In actual, there is no balance of power among the provinces from where this problem originates and provinces blame other provinces, specially Punjab which is the biggest province on the basis of population. From the days of independence, Muhajirs in Sindh gained business power and Punjabis gained political power. Anyone who have not any of these powers were left for behind. Therefore Punjab became the leading province in policy making and the politicians of other three provinces used their people against Punjab to raise their voices for the sake of their rights. Such kind of movements did not benefit the general public but their leaders gained a lot from it. Sindh consider Punjab as a thief of their water. Baluchistan claims as it is the producer of national resources including national gas and Baluchistan is deprived of the facilities and there resources are eaten up by Punjab.
The people of K.P (NWFP) has been loyal to the country and there are a number of Pathans in Armed Forces. But after becoming a poor victim of terrorism and starting of operations in K.P (NWFP) and tribal areas, these Pathans lost the confidence on the government and withdrawn their sympathies for the country. Another conflict of Hazara Province in K.P (NWFP) and Saraiki Province in Punjab also added flames in the problem of nation building.
Therefore, it is a grave need of today to eliminate all the differences and to diminish the gaps between the people, provinces and different groups. We are not in a position to bridge the gaps but it is the time to diminish and end the gaps. If we all not do so today, we will be dismembered tomorrow. We will have to take steps on permanent basis to build our nation. Following news is a good idea to achieve National Integration
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
By Masood Burki
A debate has started on the need for creating Hazara and Saraiki provinces. But rather than solving our problem of political, administrative and ethnic imbalances, creation of only two new provinces may create further complications.
Large-scale autonomy should be given to provinces, or units, so that no ethnic group has the ability to dominate smaller groups. In Switzerland there are four ethnic groups: speakers of Germans, French, Italians and Romansch. There is no domination in Switzerland by the German majority, because the political system ensures that this will not happen.
At the time of independence, India consisted of seven states and two union territories. Today the country has 28 states and seven union territories. By creating a large number of political subdivisions, India has, to a great extent, eliminated the domination of the north over the south.
My proposal is to create 16 or 17 provinces in Pakistan, which is the bare minimum. Pakistan should create five provinces out of Punjab, namely: Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sargodha, Multan and Bahawalpur. It should create three provinces out of Sindh: Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi. Three provinces should be carved out of NWFP: Peshawar, Abbotabad (Hazara) and Dera Ismail Khan. Balochistan should have the provinces of Quetta, Sibi and Makran. There should be provinces consisting of the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir and one consisting of FATA. Alternatively, the FATA area should join the provinces of Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan.
There should be more federal territories in addition to the Federal Territory of Islamabad. All ports should be federal territories. Thus we will have ten federal territories.
We need to go for a plebiscite in Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas (by calling in UN observers) to integrate them as new provinces of Pakistan. It is absolutely essential that the people of the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir are represented in our National Assembly. After achieving this integration we can create pressure on India to complete the process of plebiscite, as enshrined in the UN resolutions on Kashmir.
Because of bad governance and rampant corruption, Pakistani society is on the brink of disaster. Pakistan is in the grip of militant extremists who are thriving because of the state's inability to deliver governance, speedy justice and fair play to the people. The creation of only Hazara and Saraiki provinces will cause a host of complications.
The gulf between the haves and have-nots has increased, and the masses are desperate and the state is failing. In the economic field, we have over the years avoided the adoption of a policy of self-reliance. Most of our governments have followed policies which have made us more and more dependant on foreign aid, and thus today we have limited sovereignty.
Pakistan is a nation of diverse ethnic and linguistic groups and needs better integration through better administration and more viable political subdivisions. While creating more provinces in Pakistan we have also to ensure, in the Constitution of Pakistan, that no more than four ministers will be allowed in each province as mandatory provision of the Constitution. Similarly, the federal government is to be restricted to only 12 ministers.
In order to achieve a strong and viable Pakistan it is inevitable to create at least 16 or 17 provinces in Pakistan on an urgent basis.
The choice is ours. Either we became a failed state or go for self-reliance, austerity and honesty to create a stable and viable state.
Life is the name of competition.
Competition end, life end.