NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT ON 1940 LAHORE RESOLUTION BASIS
(March 29, 2010) -The resolutions of National Conference’ on ‘A New Social Contract On The Basis Of 1940 Resolution-The Only Way To Save Pakistan organised by Save Sindh Movement. Leading political leaders, intellectuals and thinkers addressed the conference.
Rasool Bux Palijo, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, Mir Hasil Bazenjo, MNA Marvi Memon, Abrar Kazi, Shah Muhammad Shah, Zamir Ghumro, Ali Hasan Chandio, BNP leader Jhanzaib Khan of BNP, Yousuf Masti Khan, Ayub Shar, Zulfiqar Halepoto and others addresses the conference.
Conference was attended by a large number of political leaders and workers, civil society leaders, writers, intellectuals, lawyers and concerned citizens.
A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF 1940 LAHORE RESOLUTION-THE ONLY VIABLE WAY TO SAVE PAKISTAN
The All India Muslim League vide its Resolution dated 23rd March 1940 (Lahore Resolution), promised an arrangement whereby the states/units will be sovereign and autonomous. The 1940 Resolution had clearly envisaged Pakistan as “a federation comprising autonomous units which shall be completely sovereign.”
Pakistan is a “multi-nation state” consisting of people with diverse cultures, languages and historical backgrounds and it came into being on the basis of an agreement on the basis of Lahore Resolution that each of the federating units would enjoy the status of a “sovereign unit.” Pakistan was not formed by the federation or center but the federating units and nationalities had formed it instead.
However, the National Question and issue of Rights of the Federating Units has been plaguing Pakistan since the early years of its existence. To be more precise, the problem started from the day the founding principle of Pakistan’s creation namely, a democratic federation of “autonomous and sovereign constituent units” as contained in the 1940 Lahore Resolution began to be violated by covert and overt actions of those who came to power from time to time.
Instead of respecting the autonomy and sovereignty of federating units, guaranteed by the Lahore Resolution of 1940, the nations of federating units have been subjected to systematic discrimination, hostility and exploitation, threatening their existence.
Although the original concept of the state structure was “confederal,” over time it was distorted with the introduction of unitary concept and was followed by the introduction of a highly centralized form of governance, thereby paving the way for autocracy and military rule.
The lack of provincial autonomy caused dismemberment of the country in 1971 and eroded the people’s trust in the centre. This is directly linked to federal government having a greater say in legislative affairs, its frequent meddling into administrative affairs of the provinces, unilateral decisions regarding mega projects, and reduced provincial autonomy over natural resources.
In terms of natural and economic resources, federating units are rich and self sufficient, particularly the Sindh being the richest province of Pakistan, but unfortunately the people of people of smaller federating units, particularly Sindh remain amongst the poorest.
Sindh is home to two major sea ports and the largest international air port and the trade worth billions of US. Dollars is done in and through the province. Majority head offices of the banks, financial institutions and multinational companies are based in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, making it the commercial and financial nerve centre of the country.
Whereas Sindh is the largest producer of oil and natural gas. Sindh accounts for 99% of the coal reserves of the country which are located at Larkha, Sonda, Thar, Badin and Metting-Jhampir, with Thar coal field being largest in the world.
Sindh contributes the lion’s share of the national revenue but is always in deficit due to the step-motherly treatment meted out by every federal government and even when the same political party is in power both in the province and at the centre, Sindh has to keep on complaining about its share from the federal funds.
All the incidences of injustice, exploitation and maltreatment meted out to the people of Pakistan, particularly the people of Sindh are directly linked to Pakistan’s present constitutional composition, wherein one majority province has predominance over all others in every respect.
The strong centre has snatched due rights of the smaller provinces. This has led to a situation where even the provincial autonomy is fast becoming irrelevant, because the Balochs do not want autonomy, but to go beyond it. The centre has betrayed the smaller federating units/provinces for the last 60 years, ultimately weakening the centre itself.
This Conference, after careful consideration, is of the considered view that If the Federation of Pakistan is to avert a replay of the tragedy of East Pakistan, Pakistani rulers ought to go beyond cosmetic, make-believe, constitutional changes like striking down the Concurrent List and such other minor adjustments here and there. Nothing short of a NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT reflecting the 1940 Lahore Resolution in letter and spirit can avert the impending disaster and save Pakistan.
The problems being faced by the federal units could not be resolved merely by abolishing the concurrent list. Only New Social Contract giving autonomy to the federating units will pave the way for a strong and viable Pakistan as a federation. Therefore, it is resolved that following just and equitable steps provide the only viable way to save Pakistan:
1. That the elections for the new constituent assembly shall immediately be announced to enact a New Social Contract among the federating units on the basis of 1940 Lahore Resolution.
2. That the complete autonomy shall be given to the federating units, as guaranteed under the Lahore Resolution, wherein, only Defence, Foreign Affairs, & Currency shall be the federal subjects and all the remaining subjects and residuary powers to be exercised by the federating units.
3. The power of taxation shall vest in the federating units.
4. That federating units’ inalienable right over all their existing explored resources and unexplored resources including its oil, gas, coal and other mineral resources and also over its marine resources in the Arabian Sea shall be recognized and guaranteed.
5. The NFC award shall be abolished and a new mechanism shall be devised whereby the federating units shall contribute, through a formula to be devised in the new social contract, to contribute towards a federal fund, to provide the adequate funds to the federal government for running of its affairs.
6. Enhanced legislative/financial/administrative powers for the Senate and the Council of Common Interest, enabling them to play the role of guardians to prevent undue interference in or violation of the autonomy of the federating units.
7. The Senate of Pakistan shall be directly elected and it shall consist of members from the federating units, with no representation to the federally controlled territories.
8. The government of federating units shall be allowed to maintain a para- military force in order to contribute effectively towards national security.
9. That the distribution of water amongst the federating units shall be made under 1945 agreement.
10. That no dam and/or canal shall be constructed on Indus River, except with prior approval of the People Sindh.
11. That the control and ownership of sea ports shall vest in the respective federating units and not to the federal government.
12. That Sindhi, Panjabi, Pashto, Balochi and other main native languages of federating units shall be declared as national languages.
13. That the thousands of acres of land given in prize to civil and military bureaucracy shall be taken back distributed among landless peasants.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 29, 2010