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Old Thursday, June 08, 2006
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Muhammad Akmal is on a distinguished road
Arrow National integrity of Pakistan(center VS provinces)

(This is my geniun effort. It was presented at School of Artillery during a course. Aspirants are requested to present some critical views about the quality of this study paper.)



1. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 was unique in the sense that it was based on an ideology which sought its roots from religion Islam. The famous slogan of “PAKISTAN KA MATLAB KIA, LA ILAHA ILLALLAH” was the core of the entire freedom movement that had indeed gathered the Muslims of not the majority Muslim areas only but the entire India. Pakistan was demanded to be made a laboratory where Islamic code of conduct was to be practised by the Muslims without any differences of caste, sex, and region and equal rights for the religious minorities being the citizens of Pakistan.

2. On the creation, Pakistan faced many problems of grave nature, basing on which, India had doubted the survival of Pakistan. Indeed it was difficult to be and continue to exist for the problems were placed and enhanced by the immediate neighbour and enemy. The important ones were, finance, the immigrants, the control of water recourses and shifting of other assets etc. Including other factors like struggle for power by the leaders after the death of Quid-e Azam, lack of stable and resourceful government infrastructure delayed the progress of political stability and wholesome consistency of Pakistan’s going. The important national issues which were to be resolved by the political leaders remained under cover and the instability of the state systems in Pakistan caused the development to be retarded. Due to this the common masses remained most effected because it was their progress that was affected. Out of sheer hope for betterment and progressive life these were exploited by their political leaders. There are a number of other factors which help in finding that why was it so easy for the masses to be exploited by the clerics for their racial, ethnical, linguistic differences. This study is an endeavour to logically find out the factors which are hurdles to Pakistan’s integration concerning the various kinds of divide among the provinces which are a clear demarcation of various linguistic and cultural groups. The study will also encompass the analysed remedial measures to be taken at national level to curb these issues and gain a higher degree of cohesion, political stability and integration for the federation of Pakistan.


3. To Carry out in-depth analysis of the factors determinental to Pakistan’s national cohesion and suggest dynamic and viable measures to strengthen the federation.


4. This study will be covered in the three parts which are given as:-

a. Part-I - Background and present status of Pakistan

b. Part-II - Problems / factors
(1) Financial issues
(2) Balochistan issue
(3) Water resources including Kalanagh Dam
(4) Provincial autonomy
(5) Sectarianism
(6) Ethnic / provincial groups
(7) Political instability

c. Part-III - Remedial measures to resolve the issues / solve the problems


Background / Current Status of Ethnic Divide

5. The people of Pakistan are ethnically diverse. They trace their ethnic lineages to many different origins, largely because the country lies in an area that was invaded repeatedly during its long history. Migrations of Muslims from India since 1947 and refugees from Afghanistan since the 1980s have significantly changed the demographics of certain areas of the country. The people of Pakistan come from ethnic stocks such as Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Greek, Scythian, Hun, Arab, Mongol, Persian, and Afghan. Although an overwhelming majority of the people are Muslim, religion does not supercede ethnic affiliations. The people follow many different cultural traditions and speak many different languages and dialects.

6. Immediately after partition, Pakistan had to face great problems in the political sphere. Of many was the issue of provincialism which was the most alarming issue for the stability and solidarity of the ne country. The linguistic agitation added feul to the fire in airing sentiments of provincialism

7. Pakistan is a multilingual and multiethnic nation. Most of the people belong to one of the country’s five major ethnolinguistic groups: Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns (Pakhtuns), Mohajirs and Baluchis. Ethnically distinct subgroups exist within each of these five categories. Overall, ethnic identity is multilayered and complex and may be based on a combination of religion, language, ethnicity, and tribe. The ethnic groups of Pakistan are distributed according to their historical settlement in the region. The current political regions of Pakistan roughly correspond to the settlement patterns established long before the partition of British India in 1947, when Pakistan was created as a homeland for Indian Muslims and this political culture has stronfg remains of feudalism in it.

8. Punjabis constitute 58 percent of the population. They have diverse origins, but over the centuries they coalesced into a coherent ethnic group in the historic Punjab region and developed a common language, Punjabi. Today most Punjabis prefer to read and write in Pakistan’s official language, Urdu, and their language-based ethnic identity is relatively weak. Many Punjabis are farmers in the fertile valley of Punjab Province. Punjabis also predominate in the military and the federal government.

9. Sindhis constitute 13 percent of the population of Pakistan. Their traditional homeland is the province of Sind, where they maintain the country’s largest concentration of large landholdings. Sindhis are a predominantly rural people. They have a strong sense of linguistic and cultural pride and identity. They have a rich literary and folk tradition and prefer to read and write in their own language, Sindhi.

10. Pashtuns constitute 12.5 percent of the population. Pashtuns are divided into many tribes, and their tribal structure is egalitarian. Pashtuns follow a strict code of conduct known as Pashtunwali (“Pashtun Way”). Pashtun identity, including their interpretation of Islamic law, is formulated and guided by Pashtunwali. The code is based on the absolute obligations of providing hospitality and sanctuary, even to one’s enemies, and exacting revenge at all costs in the defense of one’s honor. The code also requires Pashtuns to abide by the decisions of the jirga (council of tribal leaders) in matters of dispute. Many Pashtuns have blue eyes and claim to be descendants of the European soldiers who fought for Alexander the Great in the region 2,000 years ago. They have a rich oral tradition in their ethnic language, Pashto, but many Pashtuns prefer to read and write in Urdu. Pashtuns are primarily farmers, livestock herders, traders, and soldiers in the Pakistan military.

11. Baluchis constitute 4 percent of the population. Most Baluchis are nomadic, migrating wherever the desert-like conditions of their homeland, the Baluchistan Plateau, provide enough vegetation to raise their animals. Raising livestock, mainly sheep and goats, and selling their hides and wool is a way of life for the Baluchis. They also have apple, almond, and apricot orchards, and some grow wheat. Baluchi tribal organization is strictly hierarchical, and each tribe is headed by a sardar (tribal chief). Most Baluchis speak Baluchi (Balochi), a language that is similar to Persian. About one-fifth of Baluchis also speak Brahui, a Dravidian-derived language. Baluchis are the least educated and poorest segment of the population and are inadequately represented in government.

12. Mohajirs constitute about 8 percent of the population. They are Muslims who settled in Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947. Unlike other cultural groups of Pakistan, they do not have a tribe-based cultural identity. They are the only people in the country for whom Urdu, the official language, is their native tongue. Mohajirs were the vanguard of the Pakistan Movement, which advocated the partition of British India in order to create the independent nation of Pakistan for Indian Muslims. After the partition, a large number of Muslims migrated from various urban centers of India to live in the new nation of Pakistan. These migrants later identified themselves as mohajirs. A large number of Mohajirs settled in the cities of Sind Province, particularly Karāchi and Hyderābād. They were better educated than most indigenous Pakistanis and assumed positions of leadership in business, finance, and administration. Today they remain mostly urban.

13. Sindhis felt dispossessed by the preponderance of Mohajirs in the urban centers of Sind. With the emergence of a Sindhi middle class in the 1970s and adoption of Sindhi as a provincial language in 1972, tensions between Mohajirs and Sindhis began to mount. The 1973 constitution of Pakistan divided Sind into rural and urban districts, with the implication that the more numerous Sindhis would be better represented in government. Many Mohajirs felt that they were being denied opportunities and launched a movement to represent their interests. The movement, which evolved into the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the mid-1980s, called for official recognition of Mohajirs as a separate cultural group and advocated improved rights for Mohajirs. Although factional rivalries and violence within the MQM tarnished its image and shrunk its power base, the movement continues to be a potent force in urban centers of the province, particularly Karāchi. The MQM has contributed to a more defined Mohajir identity within the country. The ethnic / provincial divide behind almost every scene of threat to Pakistan’s integrity long with the low literacy rate and public awareness. It is also proven fact that our enemies specially India are using the same plate form to gain their interests in the region or to maintain their hostile and evil designs against Pakistan.


Problems / Factors Effecting the Cohesion of Pakistan

14. Financial Issues between Provinces and the Federation. The issue of finances has a dual nature of being parallel (between provinces) and vertical (between provinces and the centre). Allocation of financial resources and revenues has remained a debatable point since long in vertical and parallel aspects. To find out the resolve to financial matters,Under the Constitution, the National Finance Commission is obliged to announce every five years the formula for resource distribution between the federation and the provinces and also among the provinces. If for some reason the NFC fails to come up with an award in time, the Constitution provides a way out through the Council of Common Interest (CCI) which has to be convened to sort out differences among the contending parties and finalize an award. However, for the last three years, the NFC has not been able to finalize a new formula because of lack of consensus among the provinces over the new distribution formula. The federal government has indicated that it is ready to give the provinces 50 per cent from the divisible pool. However, the provinces have failed to come up with an agreed formula for distribution of resources among themselves. The CCI has not been convened to sort out these differences. Instead, a totally unconstitutional step was taken a couple of weeks back when the president convened a meeting of all the four chief ministers and their finance ministers to unravel the NFC tangle. The new budget was unveiled without resolution of the NFC differences with an unconstitutional promise that after the award was announced, the budget would be adjusted accordingly, giving rise to a new controversy as to the dislocation it would cause not only to the federal but also the provincial budgets.

15. Balochistan Issue. Balochistan is largest part of the country area wise and rich in mineral resources. It has different kind of terrain features causing difficulties in development process of Balochistan. Due to less literacy rate Baluchi tribe heads make endavours to exploit the innocence of the public and cause hurdles for the betterment and peaceful resolve of the issues. One of the main issues which has its origin since long and that aggravated the situation recently is Sui Gas Fields. Baluchi people have the resentments that Balochistan has been neglected throughout under a succession of different governments. If any development has been done, it has clearly benefited the centre and the people living in other provinces. A clear-cut discrimination is seen in dealings with the largest province by all governments, be it in terms of health, education, or development. The province has only one university, and that also doesn't have all the departments needed, one medical college lacking any facilities for post-graduate studies, one engineering university and a polytechnic college each for boys and girls. The health sector does not present a much brighter picture: the capital of the province has only two government-run hospitals, neither having all facilities. All districts have hospitals but none can handle emergencies and they lack equipment, technicians, and medicines. There is a shortage of clean water, metalled roads. Even the development projects like Gwadar port, Mirani dam, Kacchi canal, exploration of natural resources in Kohluare being resisted by the baluchis. There are various other countries having their own interests , are also playing the game of exploitation. That includes United States who does not want China’s access to Arabian sea via Gawader and India as always working for instability in Pakistan. Iran is being implicated because it is felt that the Iranians are wary of US presence in the region and are using Baloch nationalism to hit back at the Pakistanis. But Iran would be loathe to supporting Baloch nationalism because it too has a Baloch problem and would not like to do anything that creates troubles in the Iranian Balochistan. And without Iran, India would find it impossible to meddle inside Balochistan. While it is entirely possible that the arms and ammunition being used by the insurgents in Balochistan are coming through Iran or Afghanistan, this in no way implicates any of the States being accused of providing assistance to the Baloch rebels. With the whole region being awash with all sorts of weapons, procuring weapons is hardly difficult for a set of determined people.

16. Water Resources Including Kalanagh Dam. In the 50s at the time when India had threatened to stop irrigation water supplies to Pakistan, the Central Engineering Authority had hired the services of western dam engineers to identify possible storage sites on the main Indus gorge, specially in the salt zone. The Kalabagh dam site was one of the sites identified by them. The site was known earlier as the most easily approachable dam site on the Indus. However, at the time when Indus Basin projects were being selected, Tarbela dam was given preference over Kalabagh. When the Tarbela dam was nearing completion, Mr Shahnawaz Khan, the then chairman of Wapda, commissioned a consortium of two Pakistani consulting engineers, to prepare a feasibility study of the Kalabagh Dam project. The present location of the dam was selected by a team of five international experts. The feasibility report was completed in 1973-74. In the mid-70s, time was right for taking up the project soon after the completion of Tarbela Dam but because of the disturbed political situation the project was delayed. It was during the 80s that several other factors, including politics, got introduced into the project because of overzealous elements, who created doubts and distrust about the project in the minds of the smaller provinces. We are still suffering from the actions of these elements.

17. Provincial Autonomy. The 1940 Resolution envisaged Pakistan to be an "independent sovereign state" rather than an amalgam of several autonomous and sovereign states. It is, however, astonishing that some of our politicians have asserted that the powers conferred on the federal government by the 1973 Constitution, are far in excess of what was actually envisaged by the founding fathers of Pakistan. Accordingly, they are demanding a new constitution under which all the present functions being performed by the federal government, with the exception of defence, foreign affairs and currency, should be transferred to the provinces. The 1973 Constitution, which has already designated the provinces to be autonomous cannot, however, be blamed for the political, economic and social woes, particularly of the smaller provinces, as alleged by some political leaders. As a matter of fact, most of these leaders, who are demanding annulment of the present Constitution, ruled the country, from time to time, under the same constitution. It is another matter that instead of governing their provinces constitutionally, they resorted to authoritarianism only to protect their personal interests.

18. Ethnic / Provincial Groups. The growing ethnic divide in Pakistan has become a matter of concern to its people as it poses a serious threat to its solidarity and territorial integrity. The ethno-national movements that sprout in Pakistan from time to time, detrimental to its national unity. The ethnic problem in Pakistan is indeed an important and intricate issue and must, therefore, be addressed prudently to avoid unacceptable consequences. Regrettably, no serious efforts have ever been made in Pakistan to create solidarity among the several disparate ethnic groups. As a result, the hopes of making the country a unified Muslim State, nurtured by its founding fathers, have turned out to be illusory. A lesson needs to be drawn from the 1971 tragedy to avoid the repetition of the mistakes that led to the dismemberment of the country.

19. Sectarianism. The sectarian war between Pakistan's Shias and Sunnis is on since long and has deep roots with the objectives of foreign agencies e.g., RAW, KJB ans Mosad. This bloody and deadly issue has now some what merged with All militant groups working in Pakistan in the name of jihad. Available figures indicate that, between January 1989 and May 31, 2005 a total of 1,784 Pakistanis were killed, and another 4,279 injured in 1,866 incidents of sectarian violence and terror across the country. It was the support extended by the President General Zia-ul-Haq, to the jehadi and sectarian groups during the Afghan war that created these unmanageable monsters, who now rise to consume their own creators. The sectarian and ethnic essentialism that came into its own in an organized, militant form during the Zia period, now poses an ever more serious challenge to the state. The genie of sectarian violence refuses to be bottled and even as President Musharraf exhorts the people of Pakistan to adopt 'enlightened moderation', the country's tentative quest for a non-discriminatory liberal democracy continues to unravel. Pakistan continues to be caught in the trap of extremist Islamist militancy and terror.

20. Political instability. Since achieving independence in 1947, Pakistan has had a checkered constitutional history reflected not only in the country's political instability but in the relative immaturity of its legislative institutions. Frequent military interventions on the one hand and endemic violence and corruption in public life on the other have stunted the growth of a true parliamentary system. This particular aspect of a states life prevails all and augments all other refrences of states policies and its progress, which Pakistan has been lacking unfortunately. This has affected the state machinery and distorted the the public approach towards collective interest.Mostly it is because of the gap that was created after Quid e Azam’s death and it always had its remanents in almost evry regime.most of the political parties are personality oriented and lack even their internal discpline



21. Political Stability . Leadership will, nevertheless, remain a critical variable in the current political equation. The dispute over his wearing two hats notwithstanding, President Musharraf has displayed considerable maturity in his dealings with local politicians and foreign heads of state, and the nagging issue of India's insistence on the prerogatives of a major state in South Asia, which remains a constant irritant to policymakers in this country. Furthermore if we want to be in a comparatively stronger position we need to strengthen internal political stability through establishing the primacy of the representative institutions within the framework of a nationally agreed political framework, building up institutions rather than individuals, and strengthening the rule of law and the principle of taking decisions on merit.

22. Good Governess. This implies that the systems are to be checked and supervised in the interest of nation and the state and not the individuals. Indeed we are on our way to progress. Whatever present government is doing has appeared to be beneficial to the public and the state as a whole. This encompasses the economical activities, maintaining the groth rate, implementing the state policies in true spirit, improving the sate institutions’ efficiency and keening the organs of state abreast about the functions of the government and keeping them along convincingly. The heterogeneity or linguistic dissimilarities should not be allowed to undermine the national integration. However, to attain this goal the principle of pluralism, which recognizes diversity, shall have to be applied, in earnest, to safeguard the legitimate interests of all the federating units in Pakistan.

23. Redressing the Grieviences of Small Provinces Including Balochistan.

24. Water and Power Resources Including Kalanagh Dam
a. As far as provincial water management system - establishment of autonomous water authority in each province - seems to have gone nowhere in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

b. Similarly, with regard to the distribution of electricity - most of which is generated from the Indus water resources - the impact of reported restructuring is not visible either. So far a competitive and efficient public-private partnership has not developed to reduce the waste in, and theft from, the existing supply of power.

c. It would be relatively easy to show that doing nothing is not an acceptable option to meet the future demand for water and power. However, the case for Kalabagh dam rests on several crucial assumptions and observations, some of which are hotly contested.

d. For one thing, the proponents of the project must show that, given the projected demand for water and power, there are either no alternative projects or that the alternatives would be far more expensive.

e. Why not smaller dams and water diversions for additional water? For electricity, perhaps coal - reportedly Sindh has large deposits - can be a significant source for power generation with new technologies? Why is this information, if it exists, not in the public domain? The second aspect has to do with the costs and benefits of Kalabagh dam itself.

f. It seems that there are three important dimensions of the controversial project: environmental impact (both around the site and at the tail end in the delta region), displacement of people, and distribution of additional water.

g. Needless to add that, in each case, the potential beneficiaries and losers are not necessarily the same groups. The important point, therefore, is to identify the benefits and costs to each group and compare the change in welfare between groups due to the project. Also, the mechanisms for compensating the losers and form of compensation should be discussed and resolved.

h. It is quite clear that a serious division of opinion exists on the issue of Kalabagh dam for at least two interconnected reasons. First, there is palpable sense of deep mistrust - trust is the glue of relationships - in the minority provinces about what the federal government and its supporters say or do. The dispute about the distribution of water between provinces has been feeding into other grievances for some time.

j. The second reason is that the issue of future development of water and power has not been subjected to critical analysis and public debate. Why has the public not been informed on the alternative sources that include Kalabagh Dam? Of the alternatives why should the country choose to build this dam? What are the "facts" and their consequences to the country and its provinces separately? So far there has been more heat than light on the issue, reflected by the sharply divided opinion between those who are set on building the dam - as if there is no alternative to it - and others who oppose it vehemently since they suspect mala fides on the other side.

k. A sensible approach would be to make a technically sound analysis, using the best and trustworthy expertise available, of the alternatives and then undertake a political discourse - that is transparent and participatory - to decide about which of the alternatives is the least costly or most acceptable.

25. Financial Issues. Admittedly it is not easy to identify the corporate ownership and management of industries and services. But it is also a fact that the province provides resources and services that contribute to the personal and corporate incomes no matter where the individual entrepreneur or the corporate body resides or brings capital from.
The NFC should make a start by reducing the weight of population size from 100 per cent to 50 per cent, with the rest given to the other two factors-level of development and revenue generation-in the ratio of 35 and 15 per cent, respectively. The federal government should stop the practice of providing arbitrary - implying political considerations - grants-in-aid to provinces, except in severe emergencies. Since the suggested transfer formula puts onerous demand on the quality data about each province's population size, level of development and revenue contribution, it is absolutely essential that the federal and provincial governments with other autonomous public agencies and private sector institutions produce credible data and evidence on these indicators. Many writers and analysts have repeatedly noted the arbitrariness, opacity and dissension associated with the past NFC awards in Pakistan. The NFC can assure transparency, and hence its accountability, if it keeps its meetings and deliberations in the public eye and uses the best resources and expertise available to the country. The current impasse on the NFC award can be broken if the federal government fulfils its commitment to make the process of decentralization and devolution effective and regards the inter-provincial disparities as a serious national issue.

26. Provincial Autonomy.
a. In most of the federations in the world, all kinds of disputes, procedural or substantive, are settled by following the democratic procedures, without recourse to fiddling with the prevailing system or scrapping it altogether.

b. The United States, Switzerland and Canada are the most outstanding examples of nations settling the differences between the federation and the federating units through political negotiations.

c. In Pakistan also, such efforts may be useful to protect the interests of the smaller provinces rather than the condemnation of the present Constitution as totally unworkable.

d. The federating units can play an important role in meeting the daunting challenges of development and, therefore, the need for increased autonomy for them. There is no reason to deprive the provinces of this right.

e. One should not, however, lose sight of the fact that, given the unique nature of overall South Asian politics and other factors, the maximization of autonomy can end up in weakening the federation. For obvious reasons, a weak federation cannot protect a country's national interests.

f. The tenacity with which Pakistan has to guard its territorial integrity, particularly in the wake of 9/11, makes this point even more relevant. Needless to say, the people of Pakistan have every right to have a strong and viable state to protect their collective interests, and hence, the question of the scope of provincial autonomy has to be given careful consideration.

g. Provincial autonomy should not be allowed to transgress acceptable limits as this may adversely affect the strategic interests of the country. However, at the same time, no effort should be made by the centre to tamper with the quantum of autonomy granted to the provinces as this would not only be inconsistent with the 1973 Constitution but could also obstruct the much desired process of national integration.

h. This should be avoided to ensure the success of the political, economic and social transformation of the country. It may also be mentioned that the federation was not an end in itself but a means to achieve complete integration of the federating units, as a transitional mechanism, into a system that fully respected their inalienable rights. This is the only way to save Pakistan from stagnation.

j. The most promising way to settle the question of the quantum of autonomy to the provinces is to develop consensus among them in this regard, rather than impose a decision on them. A debate could also be held on the idea of welding the provinces into a single coherent entity as only then can the problems faced by the country be seen from a purely national point of view.

27. Ethnic / Provincial
a. GroupsTo consolidate our nationhood, the broadest possible national consensus should be sought on major issues, foreign and domestic, giving special regard to the feelings and interests of the weaker groups, the smaller provinces and the minorities. An example has to be set from the top downwards of the exercise of integrity in its broadest sense, entailing the accord of priority to social, collective, national interests over personal, group or party interests. This is the basic touchstone on which the regime's credibility and legitimacy, an essential pre-requisite for fulfilling its challenging tasks, would be tested.

b. The people of Pakistan, who have a moral responsibility to help their compatriots in the smaller federating units, should not, therefore, remain apathetic and unwilling to fulfil this responsibility. Regardless of their political affiliations, they should persuade their rulers to address the widespread discontent prevailing in the smaller provinces to meet the ends of justice, which is the only way to avoid undesirable consequences.

28. Sectarianism.
a. The first concrete step was taken by Pakistan Government January 12, 2002. While announcing a massive campaign to eradicate the sectarian menace, the General Parvez Musharraf banned three sectarian groups, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Tehreek-e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP) and the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM) and put the Sunni Tehrik on notice. Another two sectarian groups - Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan (SMP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) had been banned earlier, on August 14, 2001.
b. Following the President’s concept of Enlightened Moderation, the on going process of curbing the sectarianism is to be assisted by the people of Pakistan for the best interest of the state. This can be done by bringing improvements to lod age system of religios education that was started in eleventh century in Baghdad and is being followed the same patern without incorporating the modern science education.

29. The future, as it would unfold in a chosen timeframe, is a matter of perennial speculation and planning by individuals, organizations and nations. It is, perhaps, the most fascinating of human endeavours influenced no less by our hopes and fears as by the dynamics of the given circumstances. But projecting the future can be a very complex exercise, to the point of being meaningless, if one were to take into account all the numerous factors, from the universal to the local, that could impinge on our future. The focus in this article is, therefore, limited; it is limited to those elements of our present situation that are peculiar to our socio-political life, as distinguished from the common elements (illiteracy, poverty, fast population growth) that we share with other developing countries. The peculiar elements of our socio-political life that could be expected to play a crucial role as the determinants of our future are these: the tension between various ethnic nationalities; the tension between sectarian communities and the tension between the revivalists and the reformists. For the sake of brevity of reference let’s call them ‘the four tensions’. And to begin with, let’s acknowledge the fact that the future of the state of Pakistan would depend on our ability, or the lack of it, to understand and resolve these tensions that can, if allowed to fester, shatter our social fabric and, ultimately, the state itself.

Last edited by Argus; Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 01:10 AM.
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