It is nice to know that finally, people have come round to realizing the need for new provinces and do not consider it as an attempt to break up Pakistan, a crime calling for immediate hanging. As reported in the press, PPP introduced a resolution in the National Assembly for the creation of South Punjab province which got passed through the votes of PPP and its allies. As if not to be left behind, and while complaining about not enough notice having been given for the South Punjab province, PML-N introduced its own resolution in the National Assembly, demanding creation of four provinces, Bahawalpur, FATA, South Punjab and Hazara provinces.

Somehow, all this reminded me of children making sand houses on the beach. I had read somewhere that the laid down procedure in the constitution for the creation of a new province requires assembly of the province from which a new province is to be carved out, to pass a resolution to that effect which surprised me because these governments which consider even the creation of district government as too much dilution of their power, how could they be expected to loosen their grip on power.

The resolutions both by PPP and PML-N do not meet this requirement though I must admit I can't vouch for its authenticity. There is another point. With most powers having been delegated to provinces, how can the Centre, with PPP resolution for the creation of South Punjab, interfere in the provincial matters in such a big way, without even a request from Punjab province. PML-N's resolution for the creation of Hazara province also is an interference in the affairs of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

There is also the question of arranging extra financing in a big way, because with the creation of another province, the present officials and MPA's of that province will not automatically agree to proportionate reduction in their remuneration, to create the additional funds required. Also, while claiming credit for devolution of power, how can the Centre force this 'upheavel' and formidable expenditure on a province?

While not denying the need for a lot more provinces, people of Pakistan are entitled to get something better from the two major parties of Pakistan instead of these little and ugly games that they keep playing on each other, with public being the real loser, as always, or almost always.


Karachi, May 4.