NO country can develop and sustain its growth without delegating its authorities and devolution of financial and administrative powers to the grassroots level. Today, Pakistan is standing at a crossroads.
Eliminating poverty, building up a first class health infrastructure, bringing up a futuristic education system and jobs for everyone and justice at doorsteps seem a pipe dream. For this, people look towards the prime minister and the federal government, while most of the responsibilities (as per the constitution) and resources are with the chief ministers and the provincial governments.
Now, if, any provincial government is not performing well the entire province suffers. These days, if at any forum, there is talk of dividing a province and creating more provinces, the idea is vehemently resisted by some people.
The country now faces stagnation in development. GDP growth ratio is almost below three per cent. This situation is virtually taking us backwards in every sense and even Afghan currency is stronger than the Pakistani rupee.
This is the time for a rapid and prudent decision about our future. We need a solution to energise the provinces in a manner that administrative and financial powers are devolved on smaller units in an equitable manner without dividing any province. This should be done in a manner that no discrimination or ill-treatment is meted out to any area.
All administrative divisions of the country may be converted into independent mini-provinces or units or riasats as deemed appropriate and given the name like the constituencies of the National Assembly (NA-1) namely PK-1, PK-2 and so on, so that no one can claim that he is from Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This will create harmony among the Pakistanis.
The scheme, if implemented, will put the country on the fast track economic development.
Nayyar Uddin Ahmad
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2019