By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
.. It is quite clear from the “Wealthy Sindh’s Poor people” report that Sindh and Sindhis have not received their fair share in .. Pakistan and it is imperative that the inequities pointed out in the article must be addressed immediately before Sindhis completely loose their trust and the sense of ownership in the entity of Pakistan.
According to the 1998 census, the report says 51.2% of Sindh’s population lives in rural areas and remaining 48.8% live in Metropolitan/Municipal Corporations, Municipal Committees and Town Committees. The following key points from the report clearly show that Sindhis have suffered considerable exploitation and discrimination that must come to an end:
Sindh’s Resources and Contributions:
*Pakistan’s 99% coal reservoirs (Total: 96.297 billion tons) are in Sindh
* Sindh produces 48% of Natural Gas
* Sindh produces 62% of Oil (Total Daily Sales 43642 barrels – Est. Annual revenue for 62% approx 985 million)
* Almost entire fish exports go from Sindh and Baluchistan earning $133 million.
* Sindh contributes 67.65% in Direct Taxes
* Sindh contributes 68.32% in Indirect Taxes.
How Provincial Jurisdiction was encroached after Pakistan:
* Sales Tax, which in most federations in a provincial subject was a provincial tax before Pakistan – Soon there after 50% Sales taken away from Sindh government. In 1974, the remaining 50% was also taken.
* In most federations, federal revenue is distributed taking multiple factors into account (for example in India they use 11 factors) but in Pakistan only population is used a the key factor in NFC.
* In 1991, the revenue divisible pool consisted of only Income Tax, Excise Duty and Sales Tax with 20% going to the Central government and 80% distributed to provinces.
* In 1997, Custom Duty was added to the “Divisible Pool” and distribution formula was changed to 67.5% to the Central government and 37.5% to provinces.
* Where as in 1999 Sindh Sindh contributed 63.7% to the divisible pool, it received back only about 23.5%.
The End Result of Constant Expolitation and Discrimination:
* 8,000 schools in Sindh closed
* 3 out of 5 children between 5-9 years do not go to school.
* Literacy Rate in rural Sindh is only 35%
* Budget limitations prevent hiring of 17,000 additional required doctors in government hospitals.
* 50% of all hospitals (many of them in rural areas) remain closed.
* 80% hospitals have no specialists.
* 26% of Sindh’s population has no access to drinking water
* 58% of population has no sanitation facilities
* 62% of Sindh’s children are not fully immunized.
* Only about 2% of all factories and industries located in Sindh are owned by native Sindhis.
* Only about 5% of native Sindhis are employed in Sindh’s factories and industries.
* Only about 5% all federal employees are native Sindhis
* Only about 2% native Sindhis are employed in the Armed forced of Pakistan
I do not know of any country in the world where one constituent unit of the country suffers as much as Sindh suffers in Pakistan. Let us unite and demand massive initiatives and affirmative action programs to lift the native populations of Sindh and Balochistan.
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org