IT was perhaps inevitable: with President Zardari camping out in southern Punjab for a couple of days, talk of a ‘Seraiki’ province would be whipped up again. And so it came to pass, this time with the president’s suggestion that a new ‘Seraiki Bank’ would be established — though the modalities and legality of such a step were conveniently overlooked. That the PPP is playing up the emotionalism of the Seraiki issue in the pivotal south Punjab region ahead of the next election is known to one and all. But it has already forced a concession from the PML-N, which was perceived as being reluctant to carve up its Punjab base. Earlier this week, Nawaz Sharif endorsed the creation of a new province essentially reviving the territorial limits of the old Bahawalpur state.

While political rhetoric regarding the creation of new provincial units is common nowadays — perhaps keeping upcoming general elections in mind — the fact remains that this will not be an easy task. It is true that Seraiki speakers have a distinct identity and their voices need to be heard. Perhaps the first step should be the initiation of a debate on the issue; legislators, civil society and most importantly the people of regions demanding separate provincial status must discuss the question. If there is accord the debate can move to the legislatures. Aside from the constitutional process, there are thorny questions regarding the division of assets, resources and redrawing of boundaries. For example what will be the geographical boundaries of a proposed Seraiki province? Will it incorporate three divisions of southern Punjab, as the president suggested, or will the Seraiki-speaking parts of other provinces be included? It should also be realised that forward movement on the Seraiki issue will energise demands for other provincial units, such as the Hazara belt in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Sindh, the issue of division is at least publicly disowned by the major parties with the MQM denying it wants a ‘Mohajir province’; however, the appearance of posters and graffiti demanding such a province has raised the suspicions of Sindhi nationalists.

In Punjab, it is fairly clear that the PML-N needs to discuss the Seraiki\Bahawalpur issue with the PPP-led federal government. The call for a new province must not be motivated by point scoring and political expediency, neither should it be rushed before the next polls simply to grab votes. Also, the province’s assent is key and cannot be overruled. The question of new provinces requires thought and consensus, not bluster and hyperbole, while the creation of new units should be guided by the need for better governance and devolution of power.

More From This Section

Yet another chance

WITH the government determined to have a dialogue with the TTP come what may, the rest of the stakeholders have...

‘Adoption’ laws

THE problem is as heart-breaking as it is readily visible. Across the country, there are children who have, for one...

Out in the open

BY renaming the library at Lal Masjid’s Jamia Hafsa seminary after Osama bin Laden, Maulana Abdul Aziz has finally...

For economic stability

GIVE the minister credit where it’s due: Ishaq Dar had promised economic stabilisation to set the stage for a...

Comments are closed.

Comments (59)

Mohammad Ali
April 18, 2012 7:05 pm
I think its a right time to have administrative units in Pakistan n its not illegal n betrayal. For God sake come out of this animosity and childish attitude. Let Pakistan be progressive and make those units like Seraikistan, Mohajir Sooba and Hazarawaal. I wonder when i will return home for a peaceful time.
Khalid Javed
April 18, 2012 6:58 pm
good but why Punjab is only target?
Khalid Javed
April 18, 2012 6:57 pm
If ethnicity is to win then what is wrong in joining east Punjab. in all villages of punjab almost siraykit is spoken and understood. nice way to divert attention of people.
Salman Saifi
April 18, 2012 5:35 pm
we pray for Imran Khan to come and do the Magic. I hope he has some tricks up his sleeves. otherwise, it is a lost battle.
April 18, 2012 5:48 pm
It is for Media to assess whether people want Seraiki.
April 18, 2012 7:25 pm
Sindh will be divided, and a Mohajir province (Mohajirstan) will be created. There is no force on earth who can stop that from happening. Everyone has seen and knows very well what the MQM and the Mohajirs are capable of doing, and I don't think the Sindhi nationalists want to take this battle to the street, they will get wiped out in 48 hours. In addition, if the call for a Mohajir province is not taken seriously, then I fear that the call may turn into another demand.......hint, 1971 Dhaka.
Salman Saifi
April 18, 2012 5:36 pm
Salman Saifi
April 18, 2012 5:34 pm
good point
Khalid Javed
April 18, 2012 7:02 pm
yes , without ephedrine sale.
Afzal Mahmood
April 18, 2012 7:28 pm
Language has always been an important factor in the making of a nation. The roots of " The Two Nation Theory" springs from Urdu-Hindi dispute in 1867 in Ghaziabad and Muradabad upon which Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, for the first time, realised that these two nations (Hindu & Muslims) shall never work on a single plateform. Upon this he advised the muslims of subcontinent not to join the Congress and advised the policy of "wait and see". Those who try, on the one pretext or other, to play down the importance of language, I think they afford to neglect a basic social and human entity. One tends to instinctively love his/her language. The former and late Chief Minister of Sindh Jam Sadiq Ali spent almost seven years in exile. Upon arrival in his native soil he was asked what was the most painful thing for him in exile? He replied, the most painful thing for me in exile was that I could not find a person with whom I can share in Sindhi (his mother tongue). Among social life how one can ignore the strains of language.
Farheen Zehra Rizvi
April 18, 2012 6:24 pm
I think creating small unit will be easy to mange and currently this is what Pakistan need, more small provinces with complete autonomy., whether any political party asking for it or not..but Muhajirs are asking since 70s when MQM was not even born so this already conclude that it is people's need.
Salman Saifi
April 18, 2012 5:32 pm
we have reached a stage where Pakistan and India are no longer comparable. You are on a track, we are still in a jungle, looking for a way out with limited supplies and that too are being selfishly being consumed by the so called leaders looking for a way out. we are destined to doom as we have lost Unity,Faith Discipline. they very reasons that made us a nation are lost. so move on , go enjoy. If we ever get out of this mess, we'll tap your shoulder again.
April 18, 2012 6:24 pm
But at least Multan and Bahawalpur will get some share in national resources to spend on themselves. I only see ring roads being constructed in lahore from revenue collected all over punjab. Are smaller cities not worth having better roads and infrastructure. Is it right of lahore that all revenue collected from entire province be spent there?
April 18, 2012 9:46 am
Separation must be on the grounds of public interest not for PPP interest or on linguistic basis....this is not a course of issue neither own separate nor Provincial ma dear...Be Loyal to Pakistan...
April 18, 2012 4:21 pm
Small states have done well in India. I think they will be good in Pakistan also. I hope they should divide Utter Pradesh in five to six states.
Mohammad Nazeer
April 18, 2012 9:21 am
the president is determined to brerak pakistan. May Allah save our beloved country.
April 18, 2012 3:49 pm
it is the demand of all seraiki people to have their own province for their identity, we are not less than hazara province in numbers, PML (N) always support hazara Population 6.8 million, but oppose seraiki 20 million, these dual standard make them unpopular in whole region.
Syed Ali Raza Abidi
April 18, 2012 3:46 pm
It is time the country is taken seriously by the leadership. More provinces means more concentration on to limited and realistic administrative units, which is a need of time. Our population has grown tremendously since Pakistan was born, and since then illiteracy, poverty, feudalism remained under the controls of the military and the political puppet-ship! More provinces means more income, better performance, more voices, and a true democratic federation, which this country is yet to get to. New provinces do not mean new countries!
April 18, 2012 3:41 pm
The statements given by the PM and the President of Pakistan on the issue of Saraiki, are simply against the decorum of their oath and office. Being the Heads of the State, it is not desirable on their part to issue statements on such controversial matter, which may cause further furor and division amongst the various segments of society. The issue of Saraiki seems to be politically motivated to gain some political benefits, whereas it is an undisputable fact that Saraiki is not a Nation by any character of Nations Theory. They have no separate land of their own, and they are known as Saraiki because of their language, which itself is a mixture of Sindhi and Punjabi. The majority of the population in Saraiki is of Balochis, who migrated to this area after an internal war between different Baloch tribes, living in Sibi Area of Balochistan. Further, Punjab cannot tolerate further divisions, since it already witnessed division at the time of independence. If Saraiki is made as a separate province, then certain sections of people, who are also not a Nation, but occupied other nations land, as a result of migration, may demand such divisions, and consequently, Pakistan rather than becoming strong, will become more weaker than before.
Mehdi Dona
April 18, 2012 11:26 am
Hats off to President for taking this much belated issue of partitioning of Punjab............. The deprived sairaiki Nation has always been under the plight of upper punjab.....We pray for the creation of our own separate and autonomous pronivincial Body forthwith............. Muntazer Mehdi Dona
April 18, 2012 11:36 am
Zardary will never be able to break up Pakistan.
M.Arif Pahore
April 18, 2012 2:33 pm
Creation of new province will lead to breaking of Pakistan, same demands will appear from KPK, Sindh and Balouchistan. One thing we must not forget that even Pak is divided in 52 pieces, same self-interested politicians will rule. nothing will change only few new faces will come to the fold of corruption.
waseem khan
April 18, 2012 1:15 pm
Great step by President Zardari. Why dont Sharif brothers play on the popular sentiment. If they are sincere with seriaki people, they should themselves take the initiative of division.
Engr Nasir Jamal (@E
April 18, 2012 1:22 pm
How does creating new provinces mean breaking up Pakistan? I believe that the country would emerge stronger and more prosperous if more administrative units are created keeping in view the wishes and aspirations of the people. It is unfortunate that some people assume that they are more loyal to the country than others.
April 18, 2012 1:59 pm
who would the rulers in the new province would they be fully sincere and non corrupt the question is of administration and power transfer i dont believe the problems would be solved by just creating in official files and serving the interests of political people for their gains only
Walayat Malik
April 18, 2012 9:05 pm
Creation of a province on the basis of language, culture and race is wrong. It negates the concept of 'unity and strength through diversity'. Every 5million ppl should have their own province. There are 10 states in USA with pop less than 2mil. Norway has pop. of 5mil.
Walayat Malik
April 18, 2012 9:11 pm
Creation of new provinces will not lead to breaking up of Pakistan. Turkey has pop of 78mil and has 81 provinces, and Turkey has progressed at a phenomenal rate. EMULATE!!
Iqbal Malik
April 18, 2012 9:16 pm
Devolution of power and to engage common people to be part of solution will give sense of involvement. There is a need to either create more provinces or strengthen the Local Bodies System.
April 18, 2012 9:32 pm
Every Province needs to be divided up. They are all too big. It's sad to know a country of 180 million only has 4 provinces. Don't think about just Punjab, think about Pakistan as a whole. Making more provinces will only help in better administration.
April 18, 2012 10:41 pm
Mr. Nazeer, Issue here is creation of new province not a new country ... I am in favour of creating new Administrative unit of Pakistan in form of Seraiki Province. Eventhough PPP is attempting to weakened PML (N) position in Punjab, but infact a well needed province will be created which will benefit people of the region... Diminishing Seraiki culture and art will flourish.. Ibrar
April 18, 2012 10:50 pm
no reason to stop a community to get thier freedom rights either kashmir , for their country or sarakie for thier province . Sarakies have concerns fror thier race and that should be resolved
Syed Muhammad Ali
April 19, 2012 12:02 am
Pakistan need more small provinces with complete autonomy.,
Imran Khan
April 19, 2012 12:04 am
Small Units of Federal esy to manage its a good think and relief of people Pakistan This is a new world Big units not manage able and not solved a problems of people
Farhan Ali
April 19, 2012 12:35 am
"It is true that Seraiki speakers have a distinct identity and their voices need to be heard" The demand of Administrative units or provinces on basis of separate identity shouldn't be accepted, we should promote one identity and that is of being Pakistani, however new administrative units are need of time. These provinces should be created in all four provinces of Pakistan. Gilgit Baltistan should also be included in federation of Pakistan. It is a quiet condemnable fact that all the political forces ruling a province support division of all other province but doesn't support division of their own province. ANP support division of Punjab but not KPK. PPP support division of Punjab but not Sindh, similarly MQM support division of Punjab and KPK but not Sindh. PML-N support division of KPK but not Punjab. I think its some sort of life or death matter for these political parties not to discuss division of province they rule. A general public referendum in all such areas where such demands exist can sort out the issue.
April 19, 2012 12:47 am
I think countries break when people are suppressed and deprived of their fundamental rights. Creating new provinces is the need of the hour and it shall give the deprived people, that are demanding a new province, a sense of belonging. This will save Pakistan not break it.
April 19, 2012 1:16 am
Provinces should never be made on linguistic or ethnic basis but rather on admistrative grounds. I oppose a Seraiki province as unrealistic and impractical. What I do support is the creation of Southern Panjab (with both Panjabi and Seraiki people in it). I also support the creation of Southern and Northern Balochistan to help better administer that huge landmass. I believe Hazara should REMAIN a part of KPK. People need to stop thinking in such petty and divisive linguistic/ethnic terms which will create more weakness but rather make units which are multicultural that strengthen and bring a cosmopolitan nature to a province. Multiculturalism and pluralism is important for any unit, and to take that away will be a big mistake hence the reason I oppose any new unit based solely on the demands of petty issues like ethnic or linguistic majority which is a dead end in this day and age.
April 19, 2012 1:46 am
Going through the official profiles of around 100 countries of the world, it has transpired that while the South American nation of Peru has 195 provinces, its landlocked neighbour Bolivia has 112 and Italy has 110 territorial administrative divisions. Next on the list of countries with most number of provinces are the Philippines (82), Turkey (81), Thailand (77), Oman (63), Vietnam (58) and Chile (54). Greece, as history has it, used to have 139 provinces before the Second World War This details are concluded from The News ..So if Those Developed countries have a such number of provinces so why not in Pakistan as making a new province make easier for both peoples and government to handle the situations as we are facing right now..
Faisal Siddiqui (Can
April 19, 2012 1:47 am
I guess sooner we realize the bigger picture of existing situation of Pakistan; quicker we will be able to save remaining leftover Pakistan united. In my opinion, divide the country into more manageable administrative units is the most critical decision to be under taken on urgent basis along with devolution of powers. In a devolved system, local governments have clear and legally recognized geographical boundaries over which they exercise authority and within which they perform public functions, raise their own revenues, and have independent authority to make investment decisions. It is this type of administrative decentralization that underlies currently in most successful progressive democratic countries.
Shoaib Jafri ( @shoa
April 19, 2012 1:57 am
Concept of Colonialism is finished, we can't control different places centrally, now all developed countries have smaller manageable units with there local governments (real democracy). I don't know when Pakistan will enter in 21st Century we are still following British policies which even change in UK as well...Pakistan will become more stronger with smaller unit so people will have less griefs that some one else is controlling them...Yeh bara Bhai (bara sooba) chotay bhai wala khail khatam hona chahyee hay.
Khurram Jamal
April 19, 2012 2:02 am
Creating more province would be a good initiative for the "Future of Pakistan "
zia ullah
April 19, 2012 4:43 am
The easiest way to gather people under the umbrella of Pakistan & to keep slogan Pakistan first is only by create new province with the concerns of local people of that area. Referendum is the possible way to get the approval of people. I feel if now we not act on public demand may be we lost some other parts of our body like Bangladesh. Time is too short for the action. As per administratively point of view is also good to create some new province and manage administration of the country.
Syed Abid
April 19, 2012 7:19 am
More units will strengthen the country
Syed Abid
April 19, 2012 7:22 am
Why Seraiki belt is prevented to be recognized as provincial unit , Formation of provinces in Pakistan is necessary for continuation of democracy and Stronger Pakistan
Syed Abid
April 19, 2012 7:30 am
Little segment in our country aim to put country in confusion and avoid positive changes. Formation of units in a country like Pakistan is inevitable, the rate of growth is more than 3% in our country and think of Punjab population more than 80 Million governed as a single unit . It is time to listen the voice of people Southern Punjab.
Sanwal Saraiki
April 19, 2012 7:39 am
Yes, you are right. 90% of NFC award money worth many hundred billions of rupees are spent on the development projects of upper punjab while Saraiki Waseb gets deprived and remains under developed. We want equal share and opportunities in progress and prosperity.
April 19, 2012 10:01 am
More provinces are needed no doubt about it, but how many?, on what basis? and how it should be design in terms of creation of financial structure for each one because some of them may need support for decades and some might enjoy prosparity from day one. A serious band of experts should work atleast for couple of years to finalize these issues. i did not understand how Mr. Presedent issue statement that SIRAIKI SOBBA should be there before election.secondly i appose new provinces on languge basis, because i am scared that after couple of decades some of them may not be happy for any reason and might ask seperation.
Engr Nasir Jamal (@E
April 19, 2012 10:09 am
I think it is for the people to express if they want the province or not. The media should only highlight their feelings.
Engr Nasir Jamal (@E
April 19, 2012 10:15 am
Rights of the people have been usurped to the extent that they have become disenchanted with the state. Balochistan is one such example. The tribal areas were never itegrated in Pakistan and were simply kept as "ilaaqa ghair". Now these unmanagable areas have become a nightmare for the world. The Urdu-speaking are a sizable minority in the country. They have their distinct identity, unique culture and a language recognized as one of the most developed languages in the world.
Faisal Shafique Khan
April 19, 2012 4:10 pm
This is a need of Pakistan to make new Provinces for better Administration, Devolution of power always good for peoples of Country, we have to see the examples of India.
Suhail Khan
April 19, 2012 5:18 pm
New provinces should be created, PMLN is saying "New provinces should be created on administrative grounds not on language or Cast" my question is PUNJAB is on Administrative ground or Baluchistan, Sindh or KPK. If these provinces are already exists then why not Seraiki, Hazara & Mohajir, I think it will help strengthen the Pakistan
Syed Abid
April 19, 2012 8:56 pm
Great Mr. Faisal - This is what we have to do to strengthen Pakistan.
Syed Abid
April 19, 2012 9:00 pm
Why not Ask Southern Punjab people for creation of a province for them specially Bhawalpur , Multan and DG. Khan Division. Let us decide through referendum. It is a democratic and political way to gauge the will of people.
April 20, 2012 5:24 pm
Pakistan need more small provinces with complete autonomy.,
Nomi Ahmed
April 21, 2012 1:51 am
Pakistan need more small provinces with complete autonomy.,
M N Hasan
April 21, 2012 2:58 am
Duration Zia ul Haque govt Zia make a committee for new provinces in Pakistan, after research committee give a brief report, in this report committee give suggestion make more provinces and Pakistan divided into 25 provinces. If we want to a developed country we must to make new provinces in future. M N Hasan
Syed Amin U DDIn
April 21, 2012 9:21 am
New Provinces Need Of strong Pakistan....
April 23, 2012 7:27 am
Founder of MQM Altaf Hussain has speaking previous few years that Siraiki Province must be created now this wish is not President of Pakistan. These wishes are all Pakistani?s.
April 23, 2012 12:28 pm
Founder of MQM Altaf Hussain has speaking previous few years that Siraiki Province must be created now this wish is not President of Pakistan. These wishes are all Pakistani’s.
rashid deenah
April 24, 2012 9:40 am
why should not be saraiki province.if the zardari is serious in taht issue .must be sole it. and create a province.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Front Page