Pol­i­tics of new prov­inces

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

PRO­CEED­INGS

of Sindh Assem­bly, which is de­bat­ing bud­get for the next fi­nan­cial year, were marred on Mon­day by bit­ter ex­changes be tween the PPP and the MQM mem­bers over cre­ation of a new Province. Of late, MQM has started mak­ing pub­lic de­mand for sep­a­ra­tion of Karachi and Hy­der­abad to create a new Province and the PPP is not ready to hear any­thing like this.

Though MQM is rais­ing the de­mand openly, per­haps for the first time, about cre­ation of a new Province in Sindh, ap­par­ently on lin­guis­tic ba­sis, but so far there is no in­ten­sity in the de­mand. Its mem­bers are mak­ing pass­ing ref­er­ences to a new Province dur­ing their speeches in the Se­nate, the Na­tional Assem­bly and the Sindh Assem­bly but there are no in­di­ca­tions as yet that the party in­tends to put its en­tire weight behind the de­mand any­time soon for ob­vi­ous reasons. It seems to be a tac­tic to pres­sur­ize the Provin­cial gov­ern­ment to squeeze some con­ces­sions. We be­lieve that the par­ties are do­ing no ser­vice ei­ther to the cause of new Province or to the coun­try by churn­ing out time-serv­ing state­ments on the is­sue. What MQM is do­ing in Sindh is repli­ca­tion of what PPP did dur­ing its last ten­ure when all at­tempts were made to di­vide Pun­jab on lin­guis­tic lines by sup­port­ing not so pop­u­lar de­mand for cre­ation of a Saraiki Province. There were no sound reasons or jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to create a new Province ex­cept to deny Pun­jab of its size and stature in the Fed­er­a­tion and that is why the de­mand did not get any sup­port from peo­ple and the PPP was wiped out from the po­lit­i­cal land­scape of South Pun­jab dur­ing last gen­eral elec­tions. The mo­tives of PPP be­came ev­i­dent when a man from KPK, known for his anti-Pun­jab bias, was made head of the body as­signed the task of pre­par­ing ground­work for cre­ation of a Saraki Province. How­ever, same peo­ple are not ready to lis­ten to the de­mand of peo­ple of Hazara for cre­ation of a new Province. One must give credit to PML(N), which is view­ing the is­sue purely from pro­fes­sional an­gles and that is why Sar­taj Aziz-led FATA Re­form Com­mit­tee is propos­ing merger of FATA with KPK de­spite a feel­ing in tribal ar­eas that a new Province would be a bet­ter op­tion. A crit­i­cal anal­y­sis of the is­sue would tell that there was noth­ing wrong with the ex­ist­ing Prov­inces and it is ques­tion of only at­ti­tudes and parochial­ism and there­fore, at­tempts to di­vide the so­ci­ety fur­ther on this is­sue should come to an end now.

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