Friday 27 December 2019

Division of Punjab, administrative necessity for political progress - Zeenia Satti

Punjab must be divided into more provinces. It is ridiculous to have a province as large as Punjab, where majority of citizens have to travel more than fourteen hours to get to the provincial capital at Lahore, and in the process, are forced to deplete their health and their capital both. 

Punjab is the dominant province in Pakistan, area and population wise. It has come to acquire a “domineering” position in the perception of other provinces in Pakistan. It breeds ethnic antipathy and causes feeling of ethnic suffering amongst other, larger in size yet far less populated provinces. Punjab’s management is becoming difficult due to its size and will become increasingly more so in coming years as its population grows. 

Punjab is politically suffering from a ‘bloating’ sickness which is giving birth to attitudes that are beginning to divide its population. All of Pakistan has a population of 207, 774, 520, of which Punjab alone has 110, 012,442! Compare that to population in Pakistan’s other provinces, the rate of growth of same, and you cannot help getting frightened about where Punjab is headed while it keeps getting blown up all the time? In modern times, a citizen should not have to travel more than two to three hours to get to the capital of his/her province. 

This conventional wisdom lies at the heart of administrative management of populations in all civilized countries. Why do we, in Pakistan, keep sticking to the British era administrative designs, when we have outgrown the same in terms of population and resources? We must not continue to treat Punjab as a monolithic entity frozen in time and space. The unit is absorbing way more than it can hold and is hampered by its own bloating. It must shed its weight by giving birth to new provinces to restore healthy functionality.


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