1. Pakistan or officially THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN. Pakistan covers an area of 796,096 sq. km It is the 36th largest nation by total area. With a population exceeding 180 million it is the 6th populous country of the world. It has the eighth largest military of the world. It has the most diverse culture one can imagine but it has created problems. Whether it’s the culture, ethnicities, linguistics we have faced situations that have gone way beyond our control.
1. Since its inception Pakistan has faced numerous debacles from within and without. Foreign powers from the start have exploited our diversity for their interests. It has sometimes resulted in drastic tragedies for us. The very thought of separation of East Pakistan in 1971 still haunts us.
2. Now when we observe the prevailing environment in and around the country we see that things are again going in the same direction which caused the downfall of our nation once. Balochistan is burning, Shia-Sunni sectarian issue is on the rise and insurgency is once again raising its head. These are the things we must avoid. Time has come to look up into the matters and try to find solutions and ways to face the challenges that are there for us and national integration seems to be the only solution. 3. National Integration refers to the process of bringing together discrete groups into a single territorial unit and the establishment of a national identity. The purpose of National Integration is to achieve cohesion at national level enhancing the ability to face the internal and external threats.
4. Quaid-e-Azam envisioned that Pakistan would be a state where all its citizens would enjoy equal rights irrespective of caste, creed, sect, or place of birth. It is, however, ironic that the dream could not come true. In fact, Pakistan came into being as a state but could not be transformed into such a nation.
5. The past 58 years Pakistan have faced social and cultural fragmentation on one hand and social disparities on the other. It saw the emergence of ethnic and regional forces which giving rise to a culture of hatred and intolerance. Pakistan has been and is faced by imbalance in economic, political and socio cultural fields. Unfortunately “Pakistan has come to be known as a nation of constant crises”. Provincial discontent is one of those problems which has been continuously damaging Pakistan and has hampered its progress in many fields. Dismemberment of the country in 1971 was due to nothing else but the same reason, which even persists today in our society.
6. It is, therefore, necessary for us to reach to a consensus to solve the problems. Solid measures are required for national development process.
7. To carry out an analysis of the threats to national cohesion and suggest measures achieving national integration.
8. Sequence as shown below:-
a. Part I.Integrating factors.
b. Part II.Challenges to National Cohesion
c. Part III.Divisive Issues
d. Part IV.Recommendations.
9. Integrating Factors: Any country in the world is governed and is kept united based on certain principles or ideas. These have their roots deep within the culture, the way of thinking of a society. These are the bonds that keep any nation together. The most important are keeping in view Pakistan are: e. Ideology. Ideology is basically a collective thinking that represents an idea.it is a set of ideas on which a society is formed. It reflects the idea of a distinct and unique socio-political and religious personality of the members of a society. Pakistan came into being on the ideology of ‘Two Nation Theory’, on the basis of which a separate homeland for the Muslims of Sub-Continent was demanded
f. Religion.It is one of the most important factors to keep the nations united. On the name of religion may it be Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism; the societies have developed strong bondage of integration. Pakistan is an ideological state and came into being on the basis of religion. Liaquat Ali Khan in his address to the Senate of USA on 4 May 1950 said,”Pakistan was founded so that millions of Muslims should be able to live according to their opinion and to worship God in freedom”.
g. Racialism.This has also acted as a binding force between societies to integrate them into a nation. It has been a uniting factor that brings together people to form societies. Almost all the nations in the world are united based on this and Pakistan is no exception to it.
h. Economy.Strong economy acts as a binding force between various parts of the society. It is evident that higher economic growth of a country enables increase in per capita income and emphasis on human development, which energises a society, and brings in more cohesion and stability. The strong economies of USA and India can also be referred as a binding force, which has suppressed other divisive factors.
i. Political System.Politics of a country reflects the cultural ethos of a society. Each country has its own distinctive system. This distinction comes from the differences of cultural ethos and historical experience. A sound political system contributes positively towards strengthening national integration. If political freedom is not granted, it may result in its disintegration. The British Rule in India gave the sub-continent unity and peace; it gave economic development and religious and cultural freedom. However since it had not given political freedom, it emerged as a common hostility to British Rule and united the people of sub-continent despite having different languages, races and religions.
j. History and Geography.Common history and geography also play a very important role. These factors raise the spirit of nationalism especially when members of the society have pride in their history and territory. Muslims of the sub-continent had a history having its own heritage, culture and civilisation which brought them together and distinguished them. The glorious history became a motivating source for the Muslims to preserve their distinct socio - cultural entity.
k. Cultural Values.Each society has a different culture and abides by a set of cultural values, which are a reason of its unity. Cultural values give you the code of life, civilisation, morality, law which forms the contours of a particular society. In the sub-continent Hindus and Muslims had different cultural values, which distinguished them. Quaid-e-Azam said, “We are a nation of hundred million, and what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilisation, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion; in short we have our own distinctive outlook on life and style”.
l. Education.Education contributes towards national integration in two different perspectives. Firstly, the higher literacy rate gives vision to the members of the society to remain united and integrated into a strong bond of nationhood. Secondly, the syllabi and common education system for all the categories of people living in a society brings them together. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was amongst the pioneers who advocated educational and social reforms for the Muslims of sub-continent.
i.Ethnicity.Most probably ethnicity is considered as a divisive factor however it does not as long as the interest of various ethnic groups are being looked after. The ethnic entities can live side by side without mingling into each other matters and contribute towards national integration provided that the balanced policies of the government are implemented.
j.Leadership. It was the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam which made the independence of Pakistan possible. The personality of Quaid was so inspiring and convincing that masses believed and followed him blindly. A great sense of purpose was witnessed during the freedom struggle under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam. Same kind of leadership is necessary for a strong nation
k.System of Government.After independence, Quaid-e-Azam had explicitly declared that the system of government in Pakistan would be federal and parliamentary, envisaging Islamic social justice, equity and fair play for everybody. He wanted Pakistan a state where principles of Islamic social justice were implemented. The concept envisaged that the authority delegated to the State is a sacred trust; that the State must strive to achieve the ideals of equality, solidarity, freedom and justice among all citizens, its constitution must be democratic and it must uphold the supremacy of law. The following statement of Quaid-e-Azam reiterate the very same principles:- * "It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law giver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the state shall be guided by discussions and consultations *
* PART II
CHALLENGES TO NATIONAL COHESION
10. Challenges to National Cohesion. Pakistan faces a lot of challenges regarding cohesion and unity. Some problems significantly affected the national integration and cohesion in many ways. Therefore, the post-partition period inhabited many challenges for the nation which are summarized as under:-
a. Geographical Constraints. Two wings of Pakistan completely lacked geographical contact, and it was a totally unique country composed of two equally important parts which were separated by a thousand miles of hostile Indian territory. Geographical separation of East and West Wings subsequently created many administrative, social, cultural, economic and security problems. These problems rather being addressed by the successive governments, were given cursory looks which led to the fall of the Eastern part.
b. Vacuum of Leadership. Quaid-e-Azam died within a year of independence. The nation lost its founding father. Soon Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated. Departure of good leadership at such a crucial time created a vacuum which could not be filled. This set turbulent political process in the country which seriously affected and is still affecting our national integration. Irony of the country is that the successive governments, political parties and intellectuals could not fill the vacuum of leadership and still no promising political figure who can be seen to lead the country.
c. Political Process. Since the independence, governments have remained unstable and were dissolved one after the other on the charges of poor governance and corruption. Out of Pakistan's eleven heads of state, six were either soldiers or bureaucrats. Their tenures included the dismissal of eight out of fifteen Prime Ministers, dissolution of seven out of ten national assemblies and banning five out of seven political parties. In between these, Pakistan experimented with four different types of political systems i.e Parliamentary, Presidential, Military and one between Parliamentary and Presidential System. These moves resulted in lack of political maturity, a dilemma that still haunts Pakistan’s political system even today.
d. Language . The desire to bind the country to have only one language was unnatural and therefore had its own consequences. Declaration of Urdu as the National Language in 1948 sparked the language riots of 50’s. The Bengalis resisted however after numerous riots their demand was accepted and Bengali was also included as a National language in 1954. Though this resentment was addressed but the seeds of differences were sown, resulting in exploitation by political leadership of East Pakistan as well as India. Similarly, numerous regional languages are spoken in our country that must be given their due importance to avoid ill feeling toward others.
e. Economic Disparities.Economy is one of the major source of integration. After independence, discriminatory policies were pursued by the ruling elite. For example, Rupees 500 million was spent for construction of 1025 miles of new roads in Western part of Pakistan as compared to Rupees 119 million for construction of 7000 miles of roads in Eastern part. 31875 new vehicles were inducted in East Wing and 150167 vehicles in the West. These imbalances created dissatisfaction among the two wings and led to disintegration of country. Moreover, East Pakistan demanded for distribution of funds on basis of population which was turned down by National Finance Commission Award. Still Pakistan public debt shows continued upsurge from Rupees 835 billion in 1990 to Rupees 3822 billion in 2003. Despite having some healthy periods, our economy has been in dire straits since early 90’s. The causes for this state of affairs are:- (1) Lack of good governance and leadership.
(2) Inconsistent economic policies.
(3) Pressures from donor agencies.
(4) Poor performance in human resource development. (5) Poor management of resources.
(6) Unhealthy environment for foreign investment.
f. Lack of Balanced Development in the Provinces.Right from the start, uneven development in all the provinces has been experienced. Thus creating discontentment amongst the neglected provinces and breeding negative tendencies. The disparity between the provinces in terms of allocation of funds, development, education, human resource, infrastructure and agriculture are all sources of discontentment affecting the national cohesion.
g. Feudalism.Since creation of Pakistan, our society has been feudalistic in its values and traditions. This class dominates the society both politically and economically. They have enjoyed privileges irrespective of the change of governments. In fact, this class is considered as king makers because of their vote bank. This has led to discontentment amongst the poor as the gap between the rich and poor is increasing.
h. Non Exploitation of Natural Resources.Pakistan is the one of the smallest countries of the world which has all kinds of land structure i.e. Coastal Belt, Desert, Semi Desert, Plateau, Plains and Mountains. This provides Pakistan with immense reserves of natural resources. However, the leadership of this country has failed to completely exploit these resources. Even the resources in hand are not being utilized properly due to corruption and total neglect. Granite deposits in Thar are believed to be largest in world. Construction of Gwadar has opened new avenues. All this could have been done much earlier but because of lack of will on part of political leadership and regional differences such issues were never handled.
j. Political Set Backs. Successive military interventions worsen the already turbulent political process. General Ayub Khan disqualified all old politicians under the Elective Bodies Disqualification Order, 1959 (EBDO), General Yahya handed over the government to PPP and General General Zia banned the political parties was a great set back to the democratic process. The democratic institution which is a binding force, is in dilemma to find out some party which could strengthen this institution and can bring prosperity in the country.
k. Ethnic Violence.When Pakistan came into being, the single most unifying factor for all the federating units was Islam. However, ethno-regional actors started playing their role right from the beginning. Consequently, not long after the independence, Bengali Nationalists started getting organised, which resulted in the tragedy of East Pakistan. The aftermath of East Pakistan fuelled ethnic sentiments elsewhere and slogans of Pakhtoonistan, Greater Balochistan, Sindhudesh, Seraiki Suba and most recent past Jinnahpur were heard all around. The latest addition to this is the shia-sunni sectarian killings with violence surging day by day
m. Leadership Vacuum. The vacuum created by early death of Quaid-e-Azam followed by assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan left Pakistan at the mercy of incompetent politicians. It affected the growth of political institutions to guide the people towards a prosperous and a well-integrated nation. This acted as a catalyst to the divisive forces resulting in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
The most important feature of any political system is its political parties. It is only through the party platforms that the masses can either be aroused to become a closely-knit nation. The very creation of Pakistan through platform of Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and its break up through the party platform of Awami League are an example to illustrate the point. Unfortunately most of the parties in Pakistan are sect or area based resulting in problems with huge impact on the political environment
b.Parliament. Parliament is the most important institution in a democracy. Being the prime institution of any governing system, it has enormous responsibilities. The policies made in the parliament are directly responsible to create an environment for achieving national integration. Some of the problems faced in this regard are:- (1) National Assembly. With Mr Ghulam Mohammad dissolving the first assembly of Pakistan in 1954 for passing an amendment curtailing the powers of the head of state began an era in which no elected government completed its full term until recently the PPP led government. (2) Senate. With equal representation from all provinces, it can contribute towards achieving national cohesion however; they also have nothing worth mentioning to their credit. (3)Provincial Assemblies. They are supposed to guard provincial interests and provide a platform for voicing concern of their own regions. However, the people sitting in these assemblies do not look after the interests of masses. d. Judiciary. Judiciary the 3rd pillar of the state is supposed to interpret constitution in the right spirit and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Only independent judiciary can guarantee this. In the past, our judiciary was confronted with very serious national issues which had a direct impact on shaping the political history of Pakistan. However, the judiciary has always been exploited by various governments, especially in appointment of judges on ad-hoc basis. Judiciary has come a long way though but still it needs improvement
e. Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy plays a vital role in achieving national integration provided they do not over step their powers, resort to corruption and nepotism. In Pakistan bureaucrats have exploited the weaknesses of politicians, weakening the political process and in turn damaging the national unity.
f. Election Commission. Headed by a hand-picked retired justice of Supreme Court, its major task is to conduct free and fair elections. Even with a fair head its impartiality is compromised due to involvement of executives at lower levels since election commission does not have permanent staff of its own.
11. Centre -Provinces Relations. Relations between the centre and provinces have never remained cordial. There has been a continuous tussle during the period when different parties ruled in the centre and provinces resulting in all energies, resources and strategies are directed towards each other's removal from the power. This conflict is damaging the progress and economy of the country, as well as is a source of divisiveness. Main causes of the weak relations are as under: - n. Lack of tolerance
o. Centre’s reluctance in giving due share to provinces p. Prolonged suspension of political process
q. Abuse and misuse of judiciary
r. Politicising national issues for own advantage
12. NFC Award. The major problem still unsolved is the NFC Award. Successive governments have failed to solve the problem yet and this is one of the sources of discontent among provinces. According to the present formula, population is the sole determining factor of distribution of resources between different provinces. This could have been acceptable if the capacity to generate resources was in line with the level of population and poverty level was almost the same in every province. Unfortunately, such a situation is not prevailing in the country. The figure shows different contribution and allocation by the provinces:- Serial| Province| Contribution| Allocation|
a.| Punjab| 22.9 %| 57.36%|
b.| Sindh| 68%| 23.71%|
c.| NWFP| 5.7%| 13.82%|
d.| Balochistan| 3.4%| 5.11%|
13. Following are the major demands of the provinces:-
s. Balochistan is demanding share of NFC award on basis of area while Punjab demand is based on population. t. Sindh wants more shares because of her greater contribution in national revenue. u. NWFP wants share in electricity surcharge from centre.
14. Water Distribution. There are two major issues relating to water distribution that have affected provincial relations. These are:- v. Availability of Water.There is a variation in figures of available water in the Indus River system. The figures vary from 123 MAF to 155.7 MAF, with Sindh arguing that the assured supplies in four out of five years is 123 MAF. Thus no project on the system should be undertaken without careful consideration. w. Kalabagh Dam.Pakistan is the most water short country in South Asia, so it is no surprise that the allocation of water pitches provinces against one another. Since the 1980s, the smaller provinces (Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP) have accused Punjab of consuming more than its fair share of water. Today’s debate centres on the federal government’s plan to build a dam on the River Indus at Kalabagh. But the dam on which maybe the fate of future Pakistan is dependent has been politicised and governments have failed to reach a consensus over this matter of utmost importance.
15. Economic Development. Huge imbalances exist in the relative levels of development in the different Provinces. Urban growth is much more pronounced than urban development, leaving agriculture, the backbone of the economy, relatively neglected. Over-centralization has deepened the already existing feeling of deprivation in the smaller Provinces and outlying districts and the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of administration has become more and more manifest. At present Punjab, with 60% of the population, is accused of domination by the smaller Provinces. Development is more diverse in Punjab than in Sindh, where it is in Karachi and Hyderabad mostly, in Balochistan only in Quetta and in NWFP only in Peshawar.
16. The Ethnic Diversity.Pakistan is ethnically a diverse country with a varied cultural and social structure. The major ethnic groups are the Punjabis (56.1%), Pathans (13.1% including 2.1% of FATA), Sindis (22.6%) and Balochis (5.1%). All of them have different customs and languages. The differences arising due to the racial and linguistic diversity are far greater and have resulted in serious implications for the unity of the nation. The strength of these can be judged from the separation of East Pakistan. Problems arise when one ethnic group tries to exert influence over the other or looks down upon them as inferiors. We must accept the fact that Bengalis were never considered equal to their counterparts in West 17. Disproportionate Representation in Civil and Military. Service in civil or military bureaucracy is a career and status symbol in Pakistan. At the time of partition, civil service was dominated by Mohajir and Punjabi communities; the military service was dominated by Punjabi and to a lesser extent by Pathans. This aspect still needs attention and all communities be given due representation.
18. Sectarian Crisis.Over the past few years, the sectarianism between Shia and Sunni sects has seriously eroded Pakistan’s ethno - religious integrity. It has very serious effects on Pakistan’s national integrity. Sectarianism is damaging the very fabric of the society and is becoming a threat to the existence of the country.
19. Unemployment in the Smaller Provinces.Unemployment in the small provinces is a source of public unrest which is exploited by the separatist elements to gain popular support. This has also resulted in increased crimes. The educated unemployed youth is a great threat to the stability of the society. It can be exploited by the forces who are very against the creation of Pakistan. One of the causes of terrorism, dissension and bad law and order situation in Sindh has been identified as the activities of a large number of unemployed youth. The following table shows Balochistan and NWFP are the most affected provinces with regards to unemployment:- Serial| Province| % Unemployed|
a.| Balochistan | 33.48 |
b.| N W F P | 26.83 |
c.| Punjab | 19.10 |
d.| Sindh | 14.43 |
20. Quota system.Due to disparity of service representation between East and West Pakistan, after partition, a federal quota for entry into federal services at officer's level was introduced in 1949. Since 1971, instead of dying, the quota system has become increasingly vibrant. In August 1973, the quota emerged in its present form. The current formula reads: 10% merit; 50% Punjab including Islamabad; 7.6% urban Sindh; 11.4% rural Sindh; 11.5% NWFP; 3.5% Balochistan; 4% Northern Areas & Federally Administrated Tribal Areas; and 2% Azad Kashmir. The quota system, though demonstrably increases regional representation in bureaucracy, yet also serves to re-enforce invidious distinctions between regions and has become a very potent cause of frustration among the youth denied selection on the basis of merit.
22.War Against Terrorism. Pakistan decided to side with the US in fight against terrorism in 2001 when Taliban regime was attacked. Though Pakistan took a principled stance in the best interest of the country, many people in the country believed that the decision was taken under the US pressure. As a whole, the country has been subjected to increase violence initiated by international terrorist groups with some support from banned extremist groups of the country. Especially the law and order situation has been seriously affected in the NWFP and Balochistan, the two provinces where military operations are underway to eliminate terrorist groups in part of Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Both the provinces have serious concern in regard to operation being carried out in these provinces in connection with war against terrorism
The main problem that hinders confidence building in our nation is due to ethnic problems and sectarianism, which has ultimately resulted into drastic events. The firm believe in caste system have given birth to class differences dividing our society into segments. We have forgotten our ideology and we have become biased towards western world, we take pride in adopting their culture and sticking to their norms and customs. We need to reinvigorate our thoughts and revive ourselves to our culture and heritage. Our priorities have been changed we have divided ourselves into Sindhi Punjabi, Pathan and Balochi, we as a nation should reconsider our priorities as a nationWe should have control over our media it should promote our culture instead of promoting western and Indian culture which has played a vital role in dividing our society and destroying our heritage we have difference of opinions reservations among ourselves a national consensus should be done to eradicate these differences .judiciary is totally corrupt and slaved by the establishment, hence socio-economic justice does not prevails. Wrong attitude, socio-economic injustice and lack of education & knowledge have created an environment of hopelessness and have given rise to secretarial hate and fights or even killing each other, as well as extremism and terrorism and this has led Pakistan and Pakistani loose national and self-respect internationally. Pakistan survival is dependent on liberating Pakistan from the intellectual and financial slavery, a massive cleanup of rotten eggs, tested and tried politicians and dishonest heads of any institution need to be removed. Fresh blood with a totally change attitude and culture with clear sense of direction is the only hope for Pakistan prosperity and respect. Mending the small scratch will never work.
2. Confidence Building: The most important issue to be handled before trying anything else is the issue of mistrust between the provinces. 3. Revival of Ideological Orientation.True ideology as given by Quid-e-Azam basing on democratic principles has been faded out over the period of time. It should be reinvigorated through education system, media and involvement of masses in the state affairs. 4. Promotion of Pakistani Culture. Pakistan has suffered a lot due to the ethnic and political divide. All the provinces besides promoting their own culture must promote the Pakistani Culture. 5. Revision of Legislative Lists. For establishment of true federal system, division of powers between various tiers of government is important. The present division of powers between Centre and provinces is not in accordance with norms of true federal structure. 6. Fiscal Devolution. In fiscal devolution, matters require special consideration are:-
(1)A permanent secretariat of National Finance Commission (NFC) may be created which shall continuously monitor the implementation of NFC award.
(2)Composition of NFC should be changed to induct professional from non-governmental sector to replace the ministers and government functionaries.
6. JudiciaryIndependent judiciary is indispensable for protection of states’ rights. The Supreme Court should have an original jurisdiction in any controversy between the federation and provinces, and between the provinces.
7. Addressing of Water Problems.Due to increase in population there is a need for new water reservoirs to be built with the national consensus
8. Increasing the Number of Provinces. Creation of new provinces is not a new issue. Various options in this regard have been considered. Any option considering parity of population and areas between various units of the country can be considered and analyzed.
9. Development of National Consensus. It has been a general feeling that any government may it is military or civil, failed to develop national consensus on important issues. Differences of opinions and reservations must be sought in a political way.
No country can develop in any meaningful manner without inter and intra society harmonious environment. Uneven economic development is the root cause of resistance to political, social change and development, which leads to the movements of secession. Unity integrity and sovereignty can only be achieved by moulding the different ethnic and religious segments of society into an integrated nation. Even handed economic policies are essential for the development of a sense of identity of a nation and state. The centre has to put aside its bias and negotiate with the provincial government to address their grievances. At the same time, the provinces have to reciprocate and cooperate with the centre. Remember that united we rise and divided we fall.
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17. Report of National Finance Commission 1996