Creating new provinces: Recipe for bankruptcy
There is a wall of generations between them and us- we were self-less and sacrificing for Pakistan, we built this utterly under developed country when we got it. What was Rawalpindi, a city of 100,000 inhabitants, sleepy town, what was Lahore a city of 200,000 what was Karachi a city of 100,000 to 150,000 inhabitants in 1947.
I have the following objections to this proposal: This is a dying National Assembly. A proposal should wait a new Assembly when it is voted in the new Elections. The analogy given of “intehsal” to East Pakistan is a highly misleading analogy. There was a difference of 1200 miles of Indian territory between East and West Pakistan. And it did not develop under Pakistan it was expected to: In present bankrupt situation of Pakistan when our Rupee had a heart attack – Rs 90.29 equal to one dollar- who will pay the huge expenditure. Is it intended to be cruel joke to add billions of Rupees expenditure on creation of new provinces.
Eventually it will lead to Balkanization of Pakistan. And our total financial mess. As it is today the Government is the most expensive government that ever came into power since Pakistan was made. I can cut its budget by more than 60% or as drastically as I did when I was Chairman of Budget and Administration Committee of the 5-Power Military Pact CENTO . The General Secretary CENTO ‘s complain is recorded in the Minutes of CENTO Deputies Meeting. This one is a dying National Assembly. It should if at all be considered by the new fresh assembly one year farther from now. If the demand catches on it can lead to Balkanization of Pakistan. These small people who today roll in wealth were tiny little landlords. They would have been similar small landlords had Pakistan not been made. I remember, in 1950 I joined Punjab Civil Service through competition and was posted to Multan as an E A C . Then Multan was a true depiction of Persian saying “Ch-har cheese ust toh-fa-ey Multan, Gard-o Garma , Gada o guristan’ Or Four things are gift of Multan, dust, heat, beggers and (historic) grave yards. Every place in Pakistan with some exceptions has prospered because of Pakistan. The laments of under development might be true as an exception but if truth is the guide the dusty small cities have become some what modern metropolis.
The stories of “istehsal” or exploitation in most cases are manufactured grounds for creation of more provinces. In 1947, there were only these industries in the whole of (West) Pakistan- a small sugar factory at Rahwali, two sugar factories in Frontier, one at Mardan, one ( Dalmia) Cement factory at Karachi ; no major roads, very little electricity. From that sleepy village economy Pakistan developed to a modern country of some kind. 1971 left half of the country as Pakistan and when I feel childish demands made on the country, I shudder- as the generation that gifted Pakistan to those who got it from us. I am a Political scientist, a historian who witnessed rise and fall of countries in my long voyage of life in the laboratory of rise and fall of nations, called history.
With all my honesty I shudder to think of what will happen to our country if it is put to the knife of family ambitions for creating estates for the juniors of waderas in the shape of more provinces. I see in this proposal germs of dithering away of the remaining half of the country.
A lame excuse is given for creation of more provinces- the injustice to East Pakistan which caused that part to become Bangla Desh. Bangla Desh was a different case- a distance of 1200 miles separated the two wings, I was in the student leadership, waiting along with Zahur ul Haq ( later Justice Sindh High Cout) the leader of Delhi Muslim Students Federation, we were his creation, outside Imperial Hotel Jan Path New Delhi in 1947 summer. We were waiting on the lawns of the hotel.
Inside the hotel the All India Muslim League Council was meeting under the Q-i-A discussing whether there should be two Pakistan east and West or one, most of the Counsellors were uncomfortable on the 1200 miles of separation between the two wings. Suhrawardy was pleading one Pakistan. He said you do not want Bengali Muslim to develop. One Pakistan would guarantee even development. Q-i-A lent his weight to Suhrawardy’s view point. Thus one Pakistan was created; Of course there was discrimination with Bengali Muslims. Those who have no idea of this controversy that prevailed whether there should be on one Pakistan or two linked in a Union not in a Federation is to stretch the East Pakistan example unnecessarily. Their ignorance is their logic.
What is at the back of the scheme is the desire of all kinds of outdated political bosses of Pakistan is to create small provinces where their juniors will be chief ministers, cabinet members, with an inordinately big cabinet, like in Balochistan where out of 65 (?) Members of the Provincial Assembly, 62 are in the government!
What will be the expenditure on a Governor, 30 ministers or so, a new civil service to service them, cost of construction of an Assembly building, new Secretariat building, fleet of cars, etc.
No, to all this love of using public funds with both hands, please some times experts should also be heard, Petty fogging by politicos is not the last word of wisdom. Administratively it is a prescription for Pakistan’s bankruptcy if not to a gringing halt.
—The writer is a retired BS 22 PFS Career Diplomat who has been through all ranks in the Government from lowest to the highest and is an MA( International Relations, Boston) ’50 , Ph D Pol.. Sc from Ottawa 1955.