US Policy Advisors Recommend Focusing Aid on Provinces in Pakistan and Afghanistan
by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Dear Sindhi Stakeholders in future of Sindh,
I urge you to participate in the national ensuing debate that is currently occurring in Pakistan on decentralization that is likely to be implemented through constitutional amendments in the next few months. It is imperative that Sindhi politicians, intellectuals, writers, and other Civil Society leaders voice their opinions to ensure that the Sindhi interests are protected in any forthcoming changes. This is once a life time event to win at least some autonomy and protect our language and culture. This is something that our fathers and forefathers did not do well when passing resolution in Sindh Assembly for Pakistan without securing any guarantees and then again in 1973 by agreeing to accept “concurrent lists”.
My request is not that we engage in debates solely on Internet lists but rather an appeal to engage in wider debate through newspaper articles, seminars, rallies, and other forms of interactions to ensure that the decision makers not only hear Sindhi point of view but incorporate that point of view in the upcoming constitutional amendments. Please feel free to pass on my e-mail with any additional comments to other Sindhi individual and group stakeholders who I have missed in my e-mail.
My sense is that the debate on the “provincial autonomy” has now reached the corridors of Washington DC as the US Government is considering financial assistance to support Pakistan government in implementing any centralization/ decentralization changes. An initial salvo has already been thrown by MQM, which has tabled a package of constitutional amendments.
As the debate gets underway, the following are points that might interest you and others:
1. We need a powerful senate with equal number of seats from each of the four provinces. The Senate should be elected directly by the people and enjoy similar powers as the US Senate including right to initiate monetary bills. My fear is that MQM, Punjab, and NWFP will try to include special seats for FATA (same as now), Islamabad (same as now), and Karachi (MQM will likely push for a special status with separate Senate seats).