Implications of Creating New Provinces in Pakistan

Posted in : Politics

(added few years ago!)
Prof. Dr. Tahir-ul Qadri, the leader of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, wants to have thirty-five provinces in Pakistan. Altaf Hussain, the Chief of Muttahida Quami Movement, has called for creating at least twenty provinces, arguing that this should be the minimum number in a country of two hundred million people. Both demand that the creation of provinces should be on administrative basis rather than on ethnic or cultural lines. Purportedly the idea is to improve governance and devolve power at the grass-roots level. First of all it is the Constitution itself which is a major hurdle in creation of new provinces. Article 239 (4) of the Constitution says: “A Bill to amend the Constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a Province shall not be presented to the President for assent unless it has been passed by the Provincial Assembly of that Province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.” If for argument’s sake it is conceded that the constitutional requirements are fulfilled, there are other serious implications of creating so many provinces.
Implications of Creating New Provinces in Pakistan
Under the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Concurrent Legislative List has been omitted and the provinces have been granted considerably more autonomy than they enjoyed previously. The question is: if thirty-five or twenty provinces are created in Pakistan, would it be possible to grant the same measure of autonomy to all these provinces? The creation of so many provinces would also cause problems regarding the role of Council of Common Interests and National Financial Commission. It would become extremely difficult to handle inter-provincial issues like distribution of water from rivers and sharing of net proceeds from the taxes collected by federal government and grants-in-aid made by the federal government to the provinces. If the federal legislative list is expanded to smoothly handle the large number of provinces then the very purpose of creating new provinces would be compromised. A relatively simple solution seems to be the creation of only one more province comprising Saraiki speaking areas of Punjab. Before the general elections of May 2013, both Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had agreed in principle to create a new province in southern Punjab, although they differed on its exact boundaries and name.
Pakistan tehrek-i-Insaf is also not averse to the idea. It is therefore possible to have two-third majority in the Punjab Assembly in support of the measure. As regards Sindh, the issue of dividing it into two or more provinces is very sensitive. The local Sindhi population will never accept it. The best solution is to restore the Karachi City District Government in the shape it was formed under the Local Bodies Law of 2001 and given protection for six years under the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution. This is the middle course which can satisfy the migrant population of Karachi without compromising the unity of Sindh province. In fact, the holding of local bodies’ elections throughout the country appears to be a better course of action. The local bodies should be granted necessary powers and financial resources to address the problems at grass-roots level. Any major over-hauling of the Constitution in the present circumstances is not advisable as it may unleash centrifugal and other undesirable forces.
Blog post Written by Mahboob Popatia and you can visit the original article at
Tags : Implications, Create, New, Provinces, Pakistan, PAT, Tahir-ul-Qadri, Altaf Hussain, MQM, Demand, Constitution, Arguments, Problems, Water, Dispute, Federal, Government, Taxes, Local, Karachi, Sindh, Forces

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