Ethnicity: Basis for New Provinces?

Hardly anyone understands the historical implications &  impact of divisions f boundaries over time. This piece is an effort to explain the factors involved. Please also read:More Provinces:Good or Bad?

This is a Pakpotpourri Exvclusive

By : Yasmeen Ali

Looking into the very concept of decentralization, history proves, this has been a popular concept, well applied by earlier civilizations. That Pakistan should be divided into smaller administrative units is an attractive proposition. It should help in being in touch with the issues on ground, bringing together the governed and the governing, addressing the needs to the common man.

The question that arises is: what should be the basis of this division? Ethnicity? I would say, a resounding NO to that one. It can only lead to greater division, not unification and will  therefore,be self defeating.

Renaming provinces has its own bitter repercussions. Take the case of Old NWFP, now KPK(Khyber Pakhtunkhawa), but now Hazara, wants to have its own identity as we see in the lower reaches of KPK, the Sarieki speaker of Dera Ismail Khan, would be, more at ease in a Sareiki P rovince, as would also, be the Mainwali Sareiki speakers. Barkhan in Baluchistan,is a Sareiki region too. It should be kept in mind, that the Bahwalpuri ex nawabs are asking for their own province on basis of their last geographic boundaries of merger within Pakistan. The Chitrali presently in KPK, are thinking of rejoining their own linguistic group within Gilgit Baltistan. Within KPK, a strong resentment against the imposition of the Pakhtunkhwa, terminology exists, within the older inhabitants of the region, who are Hindkoh speakers. We find in Sindh, a brew fermenting within linguistic groups.



Geographic Administrative boundaries of our civilization have varied from time to time, but to establish a bench-mark, we start with that of ‘Ain e Akbari’ late 16th century. This continued till 1739,the invasion of Nadir Shah brought in a lot of changes ,he took the whole Trans-Indus land –mass ,the eastern Nara, or as the Indus flowed East of Omerkot in present Sindh, or the western fringes of Rann of Kutch Kashmir, and present Attock district too, which were Cis-Indus regions. It was Nadir Shah who in order to break the Kalhora Power, sliced off the western trans-indus, Suba of Multan,and created the Nizamate of Kalat. The Rising power of Sikh Misls devastated the fabric of Mughal hold over the Suba of Lahore. The death of Nadir Shah and Rise of Ahmed Khan Abdali,of Qandhar and his repeated raids further devastated, and depopulated the Indus regions. The British now entered with their own plans. The Kalhora dynasty had ceased in this turmoil. The Sikhs were established till Khyber. They let the existing order for the time exist by signing various treaties, with the various pressure groups, as they saw them. So the Khan of Kalat continued, as did the various others in Kech and Makran, as were Sindhi Talpur state allowed too Bahwalpur, Chitral and a host of smaller ones till Hunza.


The need for the British to step in the Indus region came with the threat of the Russian empires, movement to South. So the 19th century brought in a lot of new geographic names in its wake. In our west  Khurassan was changed to Afghanistan, and we lost our footage of Wakhan to this new entity. Kashmir too, was part of Defensive plan of buffer states protecting the Crown of the Jewel of the Indian empire. Bahwalpur state also survived on this account, as did Nizamate of Kalat and the Chitral state and of course all those smaller in the Gilgit Agency.


With the establishment of a Cantonment in Shal kot rechristened Quetta, a need arose for a new term, the creation of the British- Balluchistan entity, a safe Passage from Multan to Quetta, and onward to the new Afghanistan, through a hostile territory required to establish chiefs who would protect the route.

So came a long line of new Nawabs, from Dera Ghazi Khan to Pisheen.

The old Thatta  Sarkar Administrated from Multan, was renamed Sindh with annexation of Sikh state, in 1849,Sindh -Saghar and its Eastern Doaba’s were renamed ‘Punjab’ which was an extension, westwards of ,the, Actual Punjab by the British. So the present KPK, remained part of this Punjab till 1901.

The British in order to establish their own writ, created their own power zones. It will not be possible here to discuss each district or commissioner ship one by one, and give a background to each, though it is possible to do so , if required.


The present Punjab underwent a lot of changes, with Advent of the Nine Canal Colonies. The canal networks, regions once not under cultivation became the new markets, and so came the inception of newer tehsils and bigger districts.The boundaries of tehsils or the (Ha’ads) are the legacy of a bygone era and flow of old river beds, tribal area’s, or their grazing tracts, hence those curving zig zag lines.


In order to elucidate my point I will present a very brief case study of creation of District Muzzafargarh by the British.

Prior to Sikh/British, rule the Muzzafargarh  tehsil was part of Multan district, what is now Kot Adu tehsil, governed from Manekra, in the Thal, and was called ‘kachchhi shumali’,

The present Alipur Tehsil was called, ”Kachchhi Janubi”, this was with the Bahwalpur Nawab.

The present Jatoi tehsil was part of, later Dera Ghazi khan entity. The advent of Sikh and Dewan  Sawan Mal the most able governor of Sikhdom resulted in changes. He administrated these area’s from Multan by creating 23 Taaluka’s, each was Governed by a single Kardar, a Muharrir and a few Soldiers. In May 1849,the British laid foundation of a new district, making Khangarh Fort, the Head Quarter, at that time Garh Maharaja and Ahmedpur Sial, now in Jhang, were part of what later became Muzzafargarh, by the end of 1849,the district Headquarters were shifted to Muzzafargarh Fort with 4 tehsils, namely Rangpur, Khangarh, Kinjhar and Sitpur. The old capital of the region.

Kot Adu ,had its Tehsil Head Quarters in ‘Sanawan’.and was part of Leiah district. In 1859, Sanawan, became part of Muzzafargarh. In 1861,Rangpur Tehsil was abolished. Garh Maharaja and Ahmedpur Sial were given to Jhang District, however Rangpur itself remained part of Muzzafargarh. By now 140 square miles of Leiah had been added to Muzzafargarh and 17 villages of Multan District added also.

By now the” Kinjhar” Tehsil had been abolished and its area added to Muzzafargarh tehsil, as had been abolished, ”Sitpur” and Alipur named the new Tehsil. The changes in the bed of Chinab and Indus further added and subtracted areas, so 31 villages were transferred to, Multan district and 11 went to Dera Ghazi Khan, while 3 villages from Multan,4 from Dera Ghazi Khan,and one from Bahwalpur state were added in Muzzafargarh. In 1909,Leiah Commissioner ship was broken, and Leiah made in Tehsil and added to Muzzafargarh. Later we see, re-emergence of Leiah as a district. The point to state is that as per the need of time newer entities are created. The British carved out their own entities, it is high time we did away with this Legacy, which has become a ill-omen and recreate, our own Administrative boundaries.



From the very top to the tip of Pakistan:

1-The tribal belt which Punjab has with Baluchistan must be done away with, as should other tribal area’s ,in other provinces.

2-These stated above on Point 1 be made part of a newer setup. FATA AJK, GB (Gilgit Baltistan) etc be made part of a single Pakistan.

3-The state is the only power which can implement these goals, however by making models of new districts, based on the terrain of our country, mountains, deserts, plains and plateau-the area of Pakistan should be divided in Squares or Rectangles, as per lay of the land.

3-A fixed number of population area be kept in mind while making these Squares. In Each Square the main Town be named the District, with its minor squares being the tehsils. This should kill the rising linguistic and ethnic evil.


We should learn to live with different people of different ethnicities, they should not, be allowed to create their communities, with their own languages thereby states within a state. If provinces on current ethnic basis are allowed to continue, fragmentation will result. It is a matter of time.


Yasmeen Ali is a University Professor based in Lahore. She may be reached at




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  • Rafiq Mian  On January 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    A call for another/quazi-independent province is like my son telling me – I want to leave home !!!!!

    In sane orders and saner situations, such transgressions would be “bismi-Allah” !!!!!

    Once again in sane orders and saner situations, I would tell him “Adios – TC – hopefully you would not be asking for a loan”.

    But come on – where the f@#k do we stand nationally today – as history would carve us. Our ass is bare, our mouth is hurting for a morsel of food, we are chilling, (you fill in the blanks), Oh my God !!!!!

    Guys, I know one thing – we do not need an enemy today – we are f%$ken our own enemy ourselves.

    I just watched a program on Baluchistan on Al-Jazeera. It was mind boggeling. The way we have been f%$ing owr own brothers.

    This new SHOSHA, whoever came about with it – is self serving – enemy of the nation.

    Squarely and frankly – Pakistan is in chaos !!!!!!

    So, help us God !!!!!!

    • Yasmeen Ali  On January 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Thank you for the input-however your comment is irrelevant to the article as you have not read it at all therefore the comment:” This new SHOSHA, whoever came about with it – is self serving – enemy of the nation.”Whereas criticism is most welcome, emotional outbursts based on emotional outbursts are self defeating!

      • Rafiq Mian  On January 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        Yazmin: My thought process is not irrelevant. You have chosen to get lost into history and I am looking into what beams into my eyes rather glaringly.

        Your write-up is like Razia Butts’s novel The “Old Thutta” and “Todays Panjab” are meaningless scenarios in the realism we are engaged in. My kids would laugh at such proverbial.

        Me, I am Sorry, I have no use for it.

        Yasmin – today is not yesterday – let us grow out of it – Let us face the eventuality jointly and. Squarely and above all honestly!!!!

  • Hashim  On January 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Dear Ms Yasmeen

    Thanks for sharing this invaluable article and I fully agree with your thoughts that ethnicity should not be the basis of making provinces.

    I would like to add here that since the governments in our part of the world plan and think on a day to day activities therefore this is also a thought without any work going into it. For instance if Mian Sb of PML N puts in a motion to divide Karachi into two and Hyderabad a separate province, you will see the reaction of MQM on that.

    The rulers in my humble opinion in Pakistan are not focussed on resolving our issues, they are expert in creating issues and then leaving them that way so that it creates a shape of a MAZE.

    You may or may not be aware that if one has an ID Card from another city let alone another province he/she can not get their passport or driving license made from another city or province until and unless they know how to go about it. The ID card that we have has all the information required so why has it been made a city ID rather than a National ID? With just four provinces (not counting Gilgit Balitistan) we have not been able to reach a consensus on issues like dams etc yet we want to move on and create more provinces hence more chaos, a perfect recipe of divide and rule.

    I think if any other party besides MQM is also supporting this idea like PPP then they must first reinstate the local bodies which is the best for of devolution of power for effective administration.

    Best regards,


  • Fahim Mirza  On January 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    every bit of it that u wrote is correct. But WHO would understand or ‘PRETEND NOT TO UNDERSTAND’ this?

  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On January 7, 2012 at 1:59 am

    This interesting and involving discussion on historical background of carving and recarving of administrative units,made me recall my Cosmos trip of six European countries with 33 people from nine countries from August 12 to 22,1997. I was only one from Pakistan while there were 13 Indians including four Drs.(Gyneacologists) and two Indian American families.Analees from Amsterdom,was Tour guide,who along with William,a white American,octagarian, started talking to Indians,ticklishly about 50th independence anniversary and asking how did partition took place?.I heard all this going on as Indians told their part of story,saying,”India was one country,one civilization,just a crazy man(Jinnah) wanted to be head of a state and created Pakistan.William at dinner on August 13th night at Amsterdom,sitting with Indians and hearing Indians views,addressed me,sitting at next table and said Saleem from Pakistan is there,let’s listen his part of story,I told him to enjoy his dinner,I’ll tell my part of story at right time.Next day on August 14 when we were going to Munich from Amsterdom, I called Annelees and read my poem on Amsterdom to her that I wrote after visit of the city last night. She said,”Saleem ,you’re a poet, writer and proffessional and its 50th anninversary of your country’s independence, why don’t you address fellow travellers and share your views.So she gave me mike 40 miles to Munich after a short introduction.I started from the history of development of human civilization from tribes,communities to cities and countries,taking a lead from Europe,its integeration into Roman Empire,It’s disintegeration in to many countries and rebuild in to German(Kaiser) , French(Napolean) and British Empires.I mentioned USSR and CIS states and then focussed on India,start of M.A.Jinnah as Congress leader and seeing frustrating conduct of its leadership,joining Muslim League and struggling for Pakistan.I concluded by saying ,” the challenge of the day for all the people of world is to make leaders of their countries shed off, biases,prejudices and fixations of all types as far as possible, to make this a peaceful world to live in at least in relative terms.” Almost all the fellow travellers applauded it. Next day August 15, none of 13 Indians, ventured to share his/her venous thought on independence day of India despite,persuation by Analees.In the end I endorse Yasmeen sahiba and Hasham sahib not to open Pandora’s box by promoting administrative division on ethnic basis but follow a rational and well-thought out recarving for administrative effeciency if the need be.

  • Syed Wajahat  On January 7, 2012 at 2:00 am

    IN USA, a driver’s license and automobile registration need to be changed to the state of residence.
    after 15 days of residence.

    One can own property in any state but the taxes on income from property as well as property itself
    have to be paid to the state of its location.

    The income earned in a particular state and even the city of ones residence has to be paid to the same state and city
    along with the federal income tax.

    If you are not resident in the state where you are attending a state university or college.
    Then you are required to pay extra tuition which usually is 3-4 times higher than what the residents are charged.

    All such regulations are in place because, each entity spends public money to provide services to the residents.
    The idea is if you benefit from residing in a state or a city then you have to contribute to its spending.
    Same applies to education. Government subsidizes institutions with funds from the taxes the resident of
    the community or the state pay. Non residents need to pay the full price for the same services because
    they do not pay taxes in the state or the community that is providing them with services education is one
    of the services.

    I don’t see any thing wrong with this picture. Unless the taxes are collected by one entity for the whole
    country and subsidies are paid out from one treasury. Then all licenses issued anywhere in the country
    should be valid any where in the country.

    Syed W. Hussain

  • Khan Zia  On January 8, 2012 at 3:29 am

    We need to step back and ask if the creation of new provinces is really an issue for Pakistan when she is faced with so many other much more grave and pressing problems? The water supplies for agriculture are dwindling with no replacement dams in sight. It won’t be long before population increase outstrips food production. Power shortages are crippling our industries and exports.

    There is no new investment and no job creation. Economy is in an unholy mess. The government is unable to pay its bills. It has resorted to irresponsible printing of currency, giving rise to hyper inflation. The man in the street is much poorer, unable to make both ends meet. At the same time, according our representative at the UN, Pakistan has lost more than one hundred and fifty billion dollars on a war she had no business getting into.

    The law and order situation is on a steep decline. Karachi, the economic and industrial hub of Pakistan is paralysed with mafia gangs ruling the roost. There is virtually no government in Baluchistan. Pakhtoon Khawa is now a battleground. If there is a semblance of peace in Punjab that too will evaporate once battle lines are drawn for its division.

    The proposal for carving out a new province out of Punjab has been put forward by MQM, a party that has no representation and no love lost for Punjab and the Punjabis. As to its commitment to Pakistan, only recently its leader called upon India to allow the Mohajirs to return because ‘their fathers and grandfathers had made a mistake’ in leaving India (speech at the conference in Delhi organized by The Hindustan Times as reported in The Hindu of 7th Nov. 2004).

    If more provinces were to be carved out of Punjab, one outcome would be to multiply the number of Punjabis in the Senate. It can’t be that this outcome is lost on MQM. They must also know that under the Constitution the decision rests primarily with the provincial legislature. One must assume, therefore, that the party’s objective is not a Seraiki Province but something else.

    The government, of which MQM is a part, is confronted with serious issues and challenges. The so called ‘Memogate’ is a bomb waiting to explode; the Supreme Court is pressing for action on NRO and reinstatement of court cases. Perhaps most serious of all, the Americans are pressing hard to re-open supply routes, etc. to Afghanistan that is hard to ignore for a bunch that owes its good fortune to them.

    When you add all this to the allegations of unprecedented corruption, ineptitude and crass mismanagement it is easy to see the need for creating a diversion. One is tempted to even attribute the noises Musharraf is making to this cause. The media are playing their part in distracting public attention by keeping it focused on trivial non-issues, thus providing opportunity and space for slipping in unpopular and unpatriotic choices without too much notice.

    We have to see the move for one or more new provinces at this juncture for what it is —- a non-starter. Secondly, we have to ask if the present lot of thieves, thugs and ignoramuses with fake degrees who fill the Assembly chambers are really the ones to be entrusted with making far-reaching changes to the Constitution. Last but not the least, we have to remain focused on the real issues and not be distracted by trivia no matter how titillating.

    • Ghauri  On January 8, 2012 at 3:30 am

      Dear sir

      You have indeed presented a thoroughly sentimental and realistic picture of the economic problems that pakistan is facing. You have very accurately presented a host of parasitical problems that are sucking our economy dry and even more so you have lamented over the complacent behavior of the present government as any hard working and concerned pakistani would.

      However perhaps it was your tone or perhaps it was your intentional negligence of the feelings of people from deprived areas that has led me to yet again reaffirm my belief that more provinces NEED to be created.

      You started off by highlighing all sorts of economic dilemmas that the country is facing coupled with criticism that no investment is being made in the energy sector, law and order, water, industries etc. May I ask what relevance that has with the creation of new provinces? All that you mentioned requires investments of billions. All that new provinces require is a stroke of pen and some political will. New provinces will in no way take any more investment since all the proposed provinces so far already have buildings and courts that will be used immediately.

      Your second argument targets mqm as an anti-state actor and questions the general competance of present mna’s. I at this stage do not wish to debate over ‘hidden agendas’ and lack of capacity. It should however be sufficient to say that mqm and all other parties regardless of their covert motives or overt capacities are trying to increase their own power and get better results for the next elections. Surely you would agree with that?

      Given that mqm is going to multan and saying this is simply their means of gaining popularity in the region. If imran khan speaks against corruption he is well heard because that’s what people actually want. So if mqm speaks for new provinces they are well heard in the region BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE WANT! Why do they want it is a separate debate but suffice to say for now that we hopefully are of a democratic mindset and what people want should matter most. Unless ofcourse anyone here feels that they know better about the desires of people than the people themselves.

      The demand for a sariaki province is almost 40 years old and has never been heard until now. So finally it gets a voice and everyone has a problem with the timing? When is a good time? When is pakistan not going through a critical state of politics and economy? When was inflation completely halted and when did pakistan have no law and order issues? Are the people of the saraiki belt to wait for a moment when pakistan turns into paradise and rivers of milk flow?

      I normally do not reply to the countless emails that flood my inbox. I tend to read them and delete them mostly. However my impetus for replying to this one in particular was the statement ‘increase the number of punjabis in the senate’. Noble sir the matter at hand if I recall is the creation of a sariaki province. Your rather offensive statement is the exact reason why the people down south are so upset. They are not punjabis. They are saraikis. Just like you call yourself khan zia and might not like if constantly referred to as bishum kumar until its driven in everyones head that you are not khan zia at all but instead bishum kumar. I did not say that as a personal remark but simply as a clarification to outline how the saraikis feel about being categorised as something that they are not. You may wish to argue that there is no such thing as saraiki or punjabi etc and they are all illusions of our mind. If so I would love to debate but the matter at heart is not what you think or I think. What’s matters is what people think. If they wish to identify themselves as sariaki then so be it. Who are we to label them or tell them they don’t know who they are? And so if they wish to have a separate stove from their brother punjab because one stove is not cooking enough. Then so be it! Who are we to feed them sasti roti against their will?
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Warid.

      • Khan Zia  On January 8, 2012 at 3:31 am

        Thank you for replying in such detail. Obviously, I touched an emotional chord which was never my intention.

        For the record, I never said I was against Seraiki or any other province. For what it is worth, I also believe that Pakistan’s needs will be better served if the number of provinces were to be increased. This is necessary for administrative reasons to take into account the increase in population, etc. but not something that can be ‘created with the stroke of a pen’.

        Without meaning to cause any offence, the reason for the difference in your approach and mine is that I think of myself only as a Pakistani and nothing else. This changes the perspective and also gives rise to the difficulty in understanding that we may be experiencing. I look at provinces essentially as administrative entities.

        The drawing of provincial boundaries on linguistic basis can be problematic, as we saw when the name NWFP was changed. There are Seraiki speaking people who are proud to think of themselves as Pathans, Sindhis and Baluchis. Will they, indeed can they, be forcibly herded into a new province against their wishes? The same is true for the millions of settlers who made the Seraiki speaking belt their home generations ago.

        There are a myriad other considerations and complications involved that call for deep thought, evaluation and preparation. A province is an administrative unit and not a country. It has to function as such to serve the best interests of all the people who live in it and not be partial to one particular ethnic or linguistic group.

        As a first step one has to clearly define the problem in detail and only then look for solutions that best meet the needs. Creating any new province without going into the depths of the issue is bound to lead to more problems than it may or may not solve. There is a well-worn cliche’, ‘the Devil lies in the details’.

        Having said this, if you believe that this is the right time and the kind of people we now have in power are the right sort to deal with the issue that is your prerogative. By the same token, I hope you will permit me to disagree.

        Regards. Plain Mr. Zia.

  • Naveed Tajammul  On January 8, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Khan Zia sahib,
    One cannot but agree with the points highlighted by you,in your mail,However,The Argument given in ,Yasmeen’s’ article too supports,your view point and gives,a brief insight as to how these,provinces came into being and who created them and for what purpose,and intentions,She has also given as a case study,the example of creation of Muzzafargarh
    as a district by additions and subtractions of area’s,and how the,present, tehsil boundaries,
    came in to being,so what She purposes is,that Pakistan should revert to one Unit,The boundaries of this whole Pakistan be Re-Drawn,in Squares or Rectangles,and based on Models,depending upon the Terrain of the Land,So these new districts(Zila),and tehsils and Qasba’s,will be made,keeping in view the population,number.
    The crux of Her Argument is,that it were different rulers who created,these Geographic entities,for their own Ends,Now that we,are Independent,we should, keeping in view our present Linguistic and Ethnic Imbalances,the Legacy of the British Rulers,and their Stooges,who failed to Address the issue in the 1950’s,Take on this Challenge.
    Naveed Tajammal,

  • Shahbaz  On January 8, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Thanks for sharing;
    A well researched article.

    Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal

  • TMH  On January 8, 2012 at 4:50 am

    An excellent article to read, and well researched as well. Reading it will hell the readers to understand
    this new problem added into the plethora of the existing one. Whether it has been put forward to take away
    the public focus from the failure of sitting junta/mafia or it is need of the hour, as it is beyond the abilities and
    capabilities of present lot in power.

    Once again the writer is to congratulated for such a illuminating article, and i recommend for its circulation
    among our friends for further comments.



  • Yasmeen Ali  On January 8, 2012 at 4:58 am

    The article was carried today by PAKISTAN OBSERVER:

  • Amir Rana  On January 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Good one Yasmeen. One of those approaches I feel 100% in agreement with you.

  • Syed Nayyar Uddin  On January 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Amir Rana Sb., in opinion learned people like Yasmeen Ali should be in the parliament.

  • MAB  On January 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    This is very useful writing and commentary.

    We should also look at this proliferation as a problem emerging from
    excessive powers being with provincial governments.

    A strong local government should be part of Constitution so that power is shared out
    within a province and not monopolized by the group dominating in the province.

    Hazara is a good example.

    Pakistan emerged out of the ambition of Hindus to monopolies all power and refusal to accommodate
    minorities individually or collectively.

    The successive divisions of Punjab into five is what happens if you don’t bend with the popular demands.


  • Mohammad Chaudhry  On January 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Yasmeen, your article is reflective of your clarity of vision,historical background for administrative divisions and rationale for carving and recarving the same. The real issue is the objective and mechanism for such division and the role of key players in this process.

  • Rubina Faisal  On January 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Congratulations yasmeen it’s really very informative article .. But we people are like ” naqar khanay mai tooti ki awaZ koun sunay ga ” ? … I am so much disappointed to c crowd at musharaf’s procession .. Please throw some light on it .. My heart is sinking something very bad to my country is going to happen . Rubina Faisal .

    Sent from my iPhone

  • Syed Wajahat  On January 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Yasmeen Sahiba writes with passion and good intent that all of us can identify with. I am in complete favor of her ideas.
    A division of the country on ethnic basis will succeed in creating the same chaos that Europe faced prior to World War II.
    The Chaos ended (hopefully) with WW II, when the old cronies realized, they were simply wiping each other out of existence
    through wars.

    By creating provinces based on ethnicity of the population, Pakistan will be going backward from the modern times.
    The model should be one of Canada, USA and Brazil rather than Europe. Where the country is divided into
    states, counties and cities based on administrative and commercial management. This strategy succeeds in keeping
    the country manageable while allowing the ethnicity to mix freely. Yet individual provinces, counties and cities
    can create their own laws within the federal law and constituition for the sake of administration specific to its current population.

    A model already exists, consider the large metropolitan areas of Karachi, Lahore, Rawal Pindi and Peshawar.
    These are administrative communities in side provinces based not on ethnicity but administrative convenience,
    so services to its communities may be dispensed with greater ease.

    Syed W. Hussain

  • Minhaj  On January 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Good article. My late uncle Mr. Rasheed Qidwai, who was associated with politics on a national basis with Asghar Khan, was a strong believer of what you have written and so am I. In future, you can also send articles to me. Let me see if I can do something over here in our local Pakistani and Canadian press.

  • Khan Zia  On January 9, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Thank you. What Madam Yasmeen has proposed is eminently sensible and I have no disagreement with her on the issue. In an ideal world this is how it should be done. The opinion I had expressed only related to the timing, wisdom and motive of the motion tabled by MQM for a ‘Seraiki’ province.

    This becomes apparent if you consider that MQM, regardless of its pretence, is essentially a parochial political outfit supported by Urdu speaking voters. If it thought that linguistic provinces was the answer, logically, it should have tabled the motion for an Urdu speaking province in Sind first. Surely, what is good for the goose must also be good for the gander. It prompts one to wonder why MQM, the PM and others in government benches had decided to champion a cause in Punjab at this point in time knowing that it is a contentious non-starter.

    Yasmeen’s call for reverting to One Unit reminds me of a discussion dating back to its dissolution when Yahya Khan assumed power. Admiral Ahsan was one of his Deputy Martial Law administrators, along with Air Marshal Nur Khan. I was the Director of Naval Plans at the time and occasionally became involved in political discussions with the admiral. In one of these, he revealed that both he and Nur Khan favoured breaking up the One Unit.

    I thought it was a retrogressive step. True, there were problems with the working of One Unit but these needed to be examined in detail and rectified through appropriate steps. There was no assurance that going back to the old provinces was going to solve all or even some of these. This is what Admiral Ahsan said, ‘You don’t understand. The politicians are unhappy with One Unit because it means having only one governor, one cabinet and one assembly. They want to break up the unit because it quadruples their prospects of holding office’. They opted to please the politicians; people be damned.

    While on the subject, I would also like to narrate another such discussion, this time with Mr. Bhutto that may shock some people. It was in 1962 when he was a minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. Mr. Suhrawardi and some other Bengali leaders had been agitating for autonomy. When I asked Bhutto how he thought the problem was going to be resolved he said, ‘You know, it is all Jinnah’s fault; he should have declared a unitary form of government for Pakistan from the start. If he had done so we would not be facing this problem’. I often wonder if remembered this when he framed the 1973 Constitution? If he did, it didn’t mean much for it also meant foregoing the Sind card.

    The point in narrating the anecdotes is that it is only the gullible among us who take what the politicians tell us at face value. It is always wise to look for what lies beyond the words.

  • cleansing diet  On January 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Magnificent blog. All posts have a process to learn. Your hard work is very good and i enjoy you and wanting for some more informative posts.

  • Zubair  On December 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I good piece of history of the region. In my humble opinion, the basis of the new subas should be accessibility of common man from the farthest part of the Suba, to be able to visit the capital and back for justice, in one day by common transport. This has always been the basis of Arab administration—–a common man living at the farthest point seeking justice from the governor, should be able to visit the capital by mule in one day—-in short it should not be more than an day’s mule ride. THIS should be the basis—-a purely administrative division. “mule maybe replaced by common bus”———–

  • idrees  On December 12, 2012 at 5:52 am

    We are always slow to catch up. This should have been done by 1950 but then we didn’t have any constitution, which was the cause of all u,ls. The constitution ought to have been promulgated by August, 1947 and that should have contained the nucleus of the Pakistan movement’s objectives and formation of smaller units, even East Pkistan should have had at least four provinces. Why did we not think about this? We had no thinkers. And no constitution makers except the Quaid who chose not to give it.

  • Ghias uddin Babar  On December 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Dear Professor Sahiba,

    I read your article with great interest.
    Initially I thought that article was going to be fully loaded with a lot many administrative details.
    And it was going to be a dry discussion based on a lot of figure work. But to my pleasant surprise
    I found your write up very simple, interesting, fascinating and understandable
    more so for a reader like myself with comparatively less or no background knowledge of the subject.
    I highly appreciate your very pious message particularly
    the last underlined para:
    3-The state is the only power which can implement these goals, however by making models of new districts, based on the terrain of our country, mountains, deserts, plains and plateau-the area of Pakistan should be divided in Squares or Rectangles, as per lay of the land.

    3-A fixed number of population area be kept in mind while making these Squares. In Each Square the main Town be named the District, with its minor squares being the tehsils. This should kill the rising linguistic and ethnic evil.

    We should learn to live with different people of different ethnicities, they should not, be allowed to create their communities, with their own languages thereby states within a state. If provinces on current ethnic basis are allowed to continue, fragmentation will result. It is a matter of time.

    However, I feel that topic itself is complex and demands an elaborate debate and discussion
    bringing in may be one or two more examples to add weight to the above mentioned view point.
    Examples of one or two countries in our region could also be brought in.
    We have so many languages and many overlapping cultures.I asked a friend of
    mine in Germany, if there were also Malik sb, Ch sb, Butt sb, Khawaja sb, Shah sb,
    Khokhar sb, Bhatti sb, Niazi sb etcetera.
    My friend told me that there was nothing of the sorts.Every one was a German and thats about all.
    Then I asked him about the number of languages. He said that there was just one “German”language
    all over Germany except some variation of dialect in south towards Switzerland border.
    Thats why we say that we are a comparatively complex and fragment society/nation.
    Drawing lines and turning our nation into map squares may be over simplifying the issue.
    To sum up my views, I will say that yes, the concluding few lines of your article can serve
    as a foundation and a beacon of light for the authorities and also for the public n political leaders.
    At the same time this message also educates our masses and in a way helps them
    and prevents them from being exploited by our leaders for their own political ends.
    Thanking you n sincere regards, babar

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  • K A Khan  On March 22, 2014 at 3:26 am

    We have ignored the basis on which new country was created. Thus every kind of negative things are fearing all.

  • Wasif Bashir  On February 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    First of all, a good piece of work for otherwise an emotionally driven topic in Pakistan. While I did not have time to read the complete web log, and there for the critique, I will just add my own bit of critique even if at the cost of repetition.
    1. There is a difference between aspirations and possibilities. Provinces in Pakistan are federating units and have a fair degree of autonomy. While the Pushtun population aspired to change the name of NWFP (a rather simple task than changing the administrative outlook), it took them around 6 decades to make that happen. And only in a unique opportunity of pakhtun provincial government and an aligned national government, they could make that work constitutionally. It is by no way a simple task. And while we are not nawabs, Rajas, Kings and colonial masters: it will be almost impossible to make that work in a democratic Pakistan( only to distinguish it from Martial Law where it was possible to make One Unit proposals). Just imagine how difficult it was for Jinnah to get his 14 point proposal through with Congress opposition. And even the British Raj could not stand the pressure and reunited Bengal.
    2. While we all agree that a smoother administrative framework should be adopted, all possibilities work in the world: ethnic, Linguistic, geographical, demographic etc. If we are shying away from linguistic for being decisive, what is the guarantee that geographical divisions won’t attract a violent uproar from the population involved (imagine the recent voter divisions in sind) . We can make any issue a Kalabagh. Btw the already present a administrative divisions of Zila, Tehsil, village is quite a good division if utilised properly.( they are quite impressively divided as per the lay of the land, demography and administrative ease barring some exceptions)
    3. Gilgit Baltistan and AJK are autonomous region and is unfortunately linked with Kashmir issue in UN. We cannot unilaterally do any major framework change without inviting diplomatic battle from India. FATA cannot be simply made part of any administrative entity without major legislative effort, including willingness of people of FATA.

    Good work again



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