Curtailing provincial autonomy/ rights

Published on – August 22, 2017 – 7:00 am

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has confirmed that the representation of Balochistan and KPK had been reduced in the Council of Common Interest, the constitutional body to defend and protect provincial rights at the Federal level.

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has confirmed that the representation of Balochistan and KPK had been reduced in the Council of Common Interest, the constitutional body to defend and protect provincial rights at the Federal level.

The Council of Common Interests was the main institution formed under the 1973 Constitution to protect the legitimate and constitutional rights of the highly centralized State of Pakistan where the representation of the Balochs is almost zero.  In most of the cases, they are mistreated or ignored.

Why representation of Balochistan and KPK reduced to one only and the representation of Punjab increased? There is no explanation of this arbitrary act of the Central Government.

If the Federal Government wanted to give a fair treatment to Southern Punjab, the most backward region of the Punjab Province, then the Federal Government should concede the most popular demand and full provincial status or make it another Federating Unit. Earlier, the PML-N leadership made the public commitment to grant provincial status to Seraikistan making it a full fledged Federating Unit at par with other provinces.

For the past four years, the PML-N Government had failed to implement its pledge granting provincial status to Southern Punjab. Instead, the Government though it fit to curtail the powers and representation of Balochistan and KPK to give repre4sentation to Southern Punjab.

It is unfair and unjust to curtail the rights of Balochistan curtailing its representation at the Federal institutions like CCI. The Government should withdraw this order and restore the right of Balochistan to nominate an expert to help the Provincial Minister/ Chief Minister in dealing with the Common interests within the framework of the Pakistani Federation.

Over a period of time, the Government is highly centralized and dozens of Central Government institutions and  agencies are already restricting the provincial rights and autonomy against the declared will of the founding father that Pakistan will be a Federal State and the Central Government will enjoy minimum powers to ensure its interest. The Provincial or Federating Units will be all powerful and the Central Government retaining only Defence and Foreign Affairs.

The military dictator Pervez Musharraf even attacked the system of local Government and tried to impose the will of the Central Government in purely provincial matter. The Central Government had already taken over the law and order under the cover of fighting terror and deploying Federal forces in all corners of Pakistan—Punjab. KPK, Sindh, Balochistan and FATA and the Federation were reduced worth the name only. Thus nothing is left for the Provinces or the Federating Unit.

Under the prevailing condition, it is a dangerous move to make the provincial Governments irrelevant in running the affairs of the State and reduce the Cabinet and the Assemblies to confine their selves to mere their perks and privileges while the Federal Government institutions/officials ruling entire Pakistan.

Pakistan is facing the most serious threat at the moment blaming the wrong policies of the rulers for the past three decades or more. The rulers should restore the legitimate rights of the Federating Units before dealing any regional crisis. If the people of the provinces or Federating Units are alienated, then it will not help in defending the interests of Pakistan and its people when they face a serious crisis.

Thus, the Government should ensure maximum provincial autonomy for the Federating Units so that the people from various provinces should be the real stake holders in defending their collective interests.

There is a strong feeling in a section of population all over the country that Pakistan is heading towards complete isolation and the adversaries are gaining ground to encircle Pakistan from all directions.

Let us hope the Chief of the US Central Command had returned to his base completely satisfied in dealing with terrorists in the region. The US policy on Afghanistan will not turn hostile against Pakistan for any reason or allegation.

Security of Balochistan is prime importance for Pakistan as it is surrounded by Iran and Afghanistan besides the long and unending coastline connecting Karachi with the Straits of Hormuz where a formidable US flotilla is stationed off the Gwadar Port. Thus the rulers should ensure a prudent defence policy securing the country in every respect.

Provincial rulers should be trusted more contributing their ability to defend Pakistan and prevail upon the historic neighbours not to make any adventure during the present crisis. Bureaucrats of the highly centralized Pakistan are unable to understand the power and influence of the local leaders in the region.

They ruled this part of the world for centuries and thus they had developed influence over the region dealing with other nations defending their homeland for centuries and not year. Thus more powerful and autonomous Balochistan is in the interest of Pakistan particularly at the time of crisis.