Paksitan – 1973 Constitution, provincial autonomy and decentralization

by: Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

The ideas of provincial autonomy and decentralisation have become obsolete. Therefore, they are absolutely irrelevant for today’s Sindh.

Recall, the autonomy was talk of the Sindhi leaders before Partition and it was promised in the Pakistan Resolution in 1940. The decentralisation was promised in the 1973 Constitution by devolving the Concurrent List after 10 years.

Decades on, the PPP men are talking about so-called autonomy. The nations have proceeded much ahead on the issue of governance. It’s time for Sindhis to rethink the demands of provincial autonomy or decentralisation.

The problem of people from the smaller provinces is not provincial autonomy or share in the natural resources and constitutional pledges in the framework of Pakistan, but recognition of the right to self-determination as mentioned in the United Nations’ International Covenant On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976) and the right to self-rule as recognised by the United Nations’ Covenant on Indigenous people. The Baloch are demanding the same.

See what the United Nations’ International Covenant On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says: 1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

3. The States Parties to the present Covenant (Pakistan is one), including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

Sindhis at home and overseas must lobby for Sindh’s right to self-determination and the right to self-rule or self-governance. This is the only way to get rid of many of the problems curretnly plaguing our motherland.

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