LINGUISTICS AND NEW PROVINCES – PML-N and MQM alliance returning to Zia’s roots
by: Iqbal Tareen
Javed Hashmi is either desperately fishing to carve a new political platform where he can clearly distinguish himself or PML-N has thrown a bombshell to shakeup PPP-ANP-MQM ruling coalition in center and in the province of Sindh. Dividing Punjab in multiple parts will not dilute its effective power unless Pakistan army is transformed into a true national army from its current regional structure and characterstics. For all practical purposes Pakistan army is the only political party, which has been in power since the birth of the country. The windfall benefits of Army rule always flow to Punjab.
Let us be real. If you take a serious look at it, Punjab was actually divided in 5 provinces. In 1971 it lost its eastern province and now it is reduced to four provinces including itself, Sindh, Pakhtoonkhwa, and Balochistan. It is unfortunate that people of Sindh and Balochistan are generally presumed unpatriotic unless proven patriotic, whereas people of Punjab are presumed patriotic unless proven unpatriotic. The talk about dividing Punjab into multiple provinces has no real objective of reducing its uncontested monopoly on the State and the governance of Pakistan. This ploy by Mr. Hashmi and others like him serves following three purposes:
1. It puts supporters of Siraki province especially Sindhi and Baloch nationalists on defensive and on the ropes.
2. It extends an olive branch to MQM either on behalf of PML-N or from ambitious Javed Hashmi himself by providing them renewed impetus for a separate province within Sindh (A making of an unholy alliance).
3. In either case the objective is to form a “One unit”. You can form one unit in multiple formats by either forcefully pushing unique and distinct nations under common thumb or by breaking them into tiny little pieces so that they can’t even recognize their own identity.
The concept of so called “Zonal Federation” or breaking historically cultural national units into generic administrative units is nothing new. Many uneducated “Educated” politicians and pundits give example of USA and the formation of its states without realizing that the entire nation of USA is an immigrant nation. All early settlers had to do was to put the stake in the ground to own the land. A sort of similar expetitions were practiced under “Evacuee property laws” and free allotment of prize agricultural lands to members of Pakistan military in Sindh.
WHEN IT COMES TO INTRA-NATIONAL DISPUTES AND CONTESTS, IT IS NOT THE AMERICAN BUT EUROPEAN HISTORY THAT IS RELEVANT TO THE SITUATION IN SOUTH ASIA. Talk about taking land from Germans, Serbians or Irish, French, Scotish, and other European nations regardless of their size, you will have a thousand years war on your plate. So watch out folks before you run up to your crazy kitchen to cook up these weired ideas. You are not serving Pakistan by throwing shoes in the beehive. You are cutting at the roots of your country and destroying the possibility of peace and coexistence.
4. There is also a 4th motive in the play. US Government, especially Obama White House is coming down on Pakistan to strengthen its constitutional and democratic institutions in such a way that they become representative of the peoples of Pakistan. A good amount of money has been earmarked to support Pakistan consolidate its judicial and democratic institutions. Certainly there is a push for making Pakistani Senate more relevant and vibrant in legislative process. In order for Senate to become an effective “checks & balance” institution it must have equal representation from all provinces. By proposing multiple provinces of Punjab, PML (N) and MQM hopes hedge against possible dilution of historic monopoly on legislative bodies in Pakistan especially in the future setup of Pakistani Senate.
Please don’t have wrong ideas about some of these misleading and sugar coated stunts, which various politicians pull in order to please their clients.
If Javed Hashmi or Mian Nawaz Sharif want to bring equity in Pakistan,there are already plenty of opportunities and policy instruments in place to do so. If they start with the following steps they do not need to re-invent the wheel:
1. Remove concurrent list from 1973 constitution with immediate effect
2. Revisit NFC award to make it more fair based on the principle of “From each province according to its contribution to each according to its needs”
3. Introduce Conscription in Pakistan to transform Pakistan military from a regional to a true national army
4. Make constitutional amendment to declare raising of arms by citizens a constitutional right in the event of any government takeover by military
5. Declare Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, and Pushto as national languages of Pakistan.
6. Declare switching of political parties illegal for all elected representatives. They should have a right to re-contest their existing office from a new political platform.
7. Remove religion from politics and politics from religion.
8. Remove balssphamy laws. Let the God protect his religions and human beings take care of thier own sins.
(Originally drafted in August, 2009)