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    The Federal government and Provinces

    Army rule and the provincial autonomy
    Salman Tipu Makhdoom
    The creation of Bangladesh was a direct consequence of anti-federal tendencies in the Federation of united Pakistan. East Bengal was the most populous single province in united Pakistan with 55 percent of the total population. This fact, in a federal setup, obviously meant that East Bengali legislators would always have an adequate majority to form the Federal Government. This played a major role in our political history from Independence till 1971. There always seemed an urge to keep the majority province chained and not let it dominate the Central legislature.
    Had the true spirit of federalism prevailed, the Centre would have been dominated by East Pakistan while most of the powers would have been given to Provinces.
    This way, East Pakistani domination could not have hurt the smaller provinces. But neither was East Pakistan left to enjoy its inherent right to dominate the central government nor was it given due powers as a province. So East Pakistan found itself as the major province with no powers; neither in the centre nor in its own territory. This set-up was retained in the 1956 and 1962 Constitutions. Its backfiring in 1971 was inevitable.
    Theoretically, in a federation, provinces voluntarily agree to relinquish some powers to the federation like defence, currency, foreign relations, inter-provincial communication, etc. Remaining powers are retained by the provincial governments. This basic principle was flouted right from Independence onwards. To keep power concentrated in a few hands, some major political players did not let federalism flourish. They made the central legislature all-powerful, maneuvered Constitutions to take over Parliament, and took hold of the federal government. This was the easiest way to grab absolute power.
    The Constitution of 1973 was framed in the aftermath of Bangladesh and though it was comparatively balanced federally, many of its provisions were not operationalised.
    The Punjab holds the majority in the National Assembly. This means the Federal Government will always be Punjab-dominated. To stop the Punjab dominating other provinces without denying its legitimate rights, the Punjab should be allowed to enjoy its legitimate majority in the Centre, but to protect the smaller provinces, the Centre should be given only necessary powers, leaving most powers to the provinces. This, however, seems to go against the interests of some.
    One important barometer to measure the autonomy of a province is to identify the subjects on which it can legislate. In our Constitution, areas of legislation are delimited by mentioning topics in a Schedule to the Constitution, consisting of two lists. Of these two lists, subjects mentioned in the Federal Legislative List are the exclusive domain of Federal Parliament to legislate, and the Federal Government to exercise executive authority over.
    The other list, the Concurrent Legislative List, contains those topics over which either the Federal or Provincial legislatures can legislate. However, legislation by Parliament will prevail over contradictory legislation by any Provincial legislature. Executive authority would be exercised by the government whose parent legislature’s legislation would hold the field.
    This situation gives encompassing authority to the Central legislature and Federal Government, as almost all material topics of power are mentioned in these legislative lists. In all, 67 topics are mentioned in the Federal List, including such important topics as Defence, External Affairs, Currency, Nationality, Communications, Nuclear energy, shipping, air navigation, Import & export, National planning, Taxes, Jurisdiction and powers of Courts etc. In the Concurrent List, 47 topics are mentioned, including Criminal Law, Legal procedures, Marriage & divorce, Transfer of property, Drugs and medicines, Pollution, Electricity, Newspapers, etc.
    This means all these topics are in the federal legislative and executive domain, depriving the Provinces of any power over these topics.
    The second Constitutional Package declares that the topics in these lists are the instrument to deny due autonomy to the provinces, yet it does not touch the Federal List, nor even propose any material changes in the Concurrent List. It does not propose to delete any subject from it, thus giving Provinces exclusive jurisdiction over it. It only proposes to divide this list into two parts. One part will remain unchanged, while in the second, the Federal legislature would enact framework laws. Provinces will only have the authority to make rules and regulations on these topics.
    This will place the provinces under Federal dictates, enacting laws in accordance with the Federal legislation. The result of all this shuffling would be felt only on one portion of the Concurrent List, and even that portion would be made more prone to Central commands. By no stretch of imagination can this proposal be seen as imparting autonomy to the Provinces.
    The Council of Common Interests and National Economic Council, are very useful institutions. However, these are to be used to fill the vacuum of authority at the Centre caused by denial of much authority to the Central government. In our system, where the Federal government is given a lot of power through the legislative lists, such institutions could only be used as a forum to let the provinces address issues formally. The role of these institutions would become more untrustworthy, with the presence of the National Security Council and only cosmetic powers to both the Central and provincial governments.
    The proposal of changing the composition of the CCI to give more representation to the provinces, providing it a Secretariat, making its quarterly meetings mandatory and enacting law for better exercising of its powers are steps in the right direction. However, the CCI is meant to address those areas which cannot be given exclusively either to Federation or to Provinces and an interaction of both is essential. Therefore, although this would improve federal-provincial dispute resolution in some areas, it does not provide autonomy to the Provinces.
    Proposals on the NEC, though meagre, are also in the right direction. Especially the proposal to leave to the provinces the formulation of Annual Development Programmes and approval of projects funded fully by the provinces, is a positive move towards true federalism, as are proposals to devolve the collection of some major taxes to the Provinces.
    The proposals in the second package do not seem to provide any substantial amount of provincial autonomy, and how much of the proposed autonomy would be made available in reality is yet to be seen. Dictatorial regimes tend to be overcentralized. There is no room for real devolution, provincial autonomy or sharing of power in a dictatorial set up. The 1962 Constitution was formally federal in character, but under it, the executive authority in a province vested in the Governor, a hire-and-fire presidential appointee, making the provincial executive totally dependent on the central. Although the present government claims genuine intentions to provide autonomy to the provinces, there is every reason to believe it will be nothing beyond paper.
    It is the attitude of the people in power that really matters while practicing such subtle concepts as federalism. Our history shows we need a major paradigm shift to develop a healthy federation.
    How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?

    The way Jinnah envisaged Palistan, it was one where the people of the provinces would have almost autonomy in their affairs.

    The way it has turned out is Pak is controlled from Punjab with a hegemonistic attitude towards others.

    This attitude is a ticking time bomb which partially exploded in 71.

    [This message has been edited by RealDeal (edited August 04, 2002).]


      On that note, great editorial on the recent "Fake" aplogy by Musharraf.

      Allah's wrath will fall on all those who rule by lies, corruption, and force.

      When will Pakistan get an apology?

      Shaheen Sehbai

      President Pervez Musharraf has rightly expressed regrets to the people of Bangladesh for the 1971 excesses by the Pakistan Army in a war which the army lost despite killing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent civilians.

      And then, when pitched against another army, 90,000 officers and soldiers surrendered without fight, in utter shame, in one of the most degrading military defeats in decades. Ever since, Pakistan army has not gone to war with any one, except the Kargil misadventure of 1999 which also ended in a humiliating withdrawal.

      But during all these years, Pakistan Army has gone to war with its own people several times, curbing their freedoms, arresting them, snatching their democratic rights again and again, interfering in politics, grabbing lands, indulging in shady businesses, misappropriating bulk of the hard earned tax-payers' money and gobbling up billions upon billions in foreign aid, given to them as a mercenary army to help others achieve their strategic and military objectives.

      In all these years of totally illegal, unconstitutional and immoral usurpation of power, the army never thought about Pakistan's long term interests as a nation. Military dictators always had the short term goal of preserving and prolonging their rule.

      General Zia ul Haq's 11 years saw billions of dollars poured into Pakistan by United States and its allies, but Pakistan never benefited a bit. Generals and their sons, though, became billionaires overnight, buying properties, prime businesses and political clout, at home and abroad.

      Whenever the people forced these power-preserving generals to restore civilian, democratic rule, they did so on very stiff, inflexible political terms. They were always breathing down the necks of politicians, who in turn felt so insecure, they wanted to make the most in whatever brief and truncated period of political power they had been allowed, as a largesse by the army. Let me make it very clear I am not talking about the vast majority of Pakistan Army's officers or the jawans, who hardly have any say in these top level political decisions. But we always hadthe top which was by and large ambitious and corrupt. The tenures of the few honest and upright military officers, who by chance made it to the top, were always brief and ended abruptly. Since the top was corrupt, not many honest, but deserving, officers were allowed to make their way up.

      A cursory look at what the retired generals are doing now would be enough to confirm that not a single of them appears to be in any kind of financial distress. Most have their families well settled in foreign lands, including General Musharraf. Most have several tracts of agricultural and prime residential land, given to them for God knows what conquests they did against which enemy during peace time. General Musharraf himself declared almost 10 residential plots, one in almost every military cantonment in the country, when he gave out his assets in a rush for proving his honesty earlier in his rule.

      There are exclusive military, air force and naval residential towns in prime parts of every major city. Most of the corporate sectors are riddled with ex-army, navy or air force companies and foundations. Civilian bureaucracy has been stuffed with serving and retired officers. Things appear so bad even their business fights to grab lucrative military contracts have now started to overflow in the pages of newspapers, the Ali Quli Khan trucks deal being the latest example.

      The standard argument against all these points is that the army is also part of Pakistan and they have a right to do business or get a piece of land for making a home. No body challenges that argument, but when the entire institution is mobilized to provide benefits to senior officers, unthinkable for any other segment of the society, it becomes an organized mafia operation and not a matter of simple right to one house.

      When Pakistan Army had to secure both the then East and present (West) Pakistan, the number of Generals was less. Now every post which was previously managed by a senior colonel or a brigadier is now occupied by a two or three star general. The entire "declared" budget is for salaries, pensions and administrative costs. Where does the Army get the money for its weapons and fighting gear is not known to any one. How do they get it? Ask this question and you are immediately labeled an "Indian agent".

      So while it is highly appreciated that an army chief has felt the need to apologize for its past misdeeds to former citizens of the country, is it not time for a similar and more meaningful apology from the present citizens as well who are still suffering under its yoke? Apologies are due for the years lost by the country because of military rule; for not allowing a smooth civilian system which, if allowed uninterrupted, would have taken roots and Pakistan would have been far ahead economically; for not allowing elected civilian leaders to make decisions in the country's best interest (like resolving Kashmir issue); for not delivering to the country a defence commensurate with the price paid through the teeth by the poor people. The ultimate defence weapon was then not the army but a device abhorred by all civilised nations in the world.

      General Musharraf must have felt a lot of shame when he would have seen a vibrant democracy and a vibrant economy in Bangladesh, the creation of which had been justified as "good riddance" by the army and some of its like-minded supporters in 1971 and later. Musharraf cannot be blamed for the past, but by following in the footsteps of his military predecessors, he is showing the world he and the entire top brass, is no different. Has he ever promised that his army would never repeat the East Pakistan shame in any part of present Pakistan? On the contrary he is doing exactly what the army did in 1971: Deny the genuinely elected representatives their due share of political power. His crudely concocted plan is the same old wine in his new bottle.

      That makes his "regret" to Bengalis an expediency and part of diplomacy. Bangladeshi people know Musharraf did not sincerely mean a word of what he was saying in Dhaka. If he actually felt the army had done a grievous wrong to its former citizens, it is impossible for him not to think about the people he is ruling now. That is why probably many in Bangladesh have rejected the "regret" and are asking for an unqualified apology.


        Although I do not believe those in barracks need to be ruling this country, but our leaders have left us no choice. As for the previous article, it contains lies. Our army has never had humiliating defeats in Kargil. This is all one sided propoganda. We fought well in Kargil and taught the enemy is a formidable lesson.


          Controversy over federalism
          Updated on 8/5/2002 1:01:40 PM

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          “Federalism is a political contrivance intended to reconcile national unity with maintenance of state rights”(Dicey).

          The demand for provincial autonomy has reached a crescendo among nationalist politicians of small provinces.

          The nationalist politicians have been clamouring for maximum provincial autonomy since the very inception of 1973 Constitution.They contend for maximum provincial autonomy on the plea that its idea was embedded in Pakistan Resolution and the subsequent Cabinet Mission Plan, which had been acquiesced in by founder of the nation Quaid- e -Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

          Nonetheless, they fail to understand that the idea of loose federation, as envisioned in Lahore Resolution and the Cabinet Mission Plan, was relevant only in the context of Hindu-Muslim divide.

          After the creation of Pakistan, there was no need for loose federation.

          It is worth remembering that nationalist politicians argued vigorously, during debate on provinces-federation relations, organised under the auspices of NRB on PTV last year, for weak centre invested with only three subjects; foreign affairs, defence and communication.

          Such a weak federal system is absolutely unworkable in ethnically heterogeneous society like Pakistan.

          The difficulties, which American Confederation (1777) had to contend with, should be a lesson for us.

          However, the importance of a good and genuine federal system with adequate provincial autonomy cannot be discounted.

          The Objectives Resolution of 1949, adopted by first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, had envisaged federal constitution for Pakistan.

          The 1956 Constitution had incorporated federal form of government.

          The provinces had been invested with maximum provincial autonomy with their jurisdiction on 94 subjects, including railway.

          Nonetheless, it erred in transforming West Pakistan into one unit.

          Then, centralising tendency in 1962 Constitution was a great blow to federation.

          It was virtually a unitary system, which culminated in the bifurcation of Pakistan in 1971.

          The 1973 Constitution did a commendable job in reviving federal system in Pakistan.

          The provinces had been made autonomous in the sphere of residuary subjects.

          What went wrong with the Constitution was not the lack of provincial autonomy, but failure on the part of rulers to implement the Constitution in letter and spirit.

          According to Article 142 of 1973 Constitution, now held in abeyance under PCO issued on 14th of October 1999, the parliament can legislate only on subjects incorporated in federal list as well as concurrent list.

          Whereas, the provincial legislatures under article 142(c) can legislate on subjects enumerated neither in federal list nor in concurrent list.

          Article 97 of the Constitution unequivocally restricts the executive authority of federal government only to those subjects on which the parliament can make legislation.

          Accordingly, subjects like education, health, agriculture, irrigation and local government fall within the jurisdiction of provincial governments.

          It is appalling to see that the Centre has always encroached on provincial subjects in violation of explicit provisions of 1973 Constitution.

          Now, there is a need to revive federal system in Pakistan in accordance with provisions of 1973 Constitution.

          Secondly, a sound compromise formula should be evolved between the proponents of loose federation and those of relatively strong Centre.

          I suggest an outline of federal system of government for consideration of NRB and the forthcoming National Assembly.

          *According to Articles 142 and 97 of 1973 Constitution, all federal departments and divisions in charge of provincial subjects like education, health, irrigation, agriculture, environment, local government, population planning, etc., should be transferred to provinces.

          It could be done without amending the Constitution.

          *The provincial Governors should be elected by provincial legislatures and should be responsible to them.

          This would extricate provincial governments from undue interference by the central government.

          *According to constitutional provisions, the newly established local governments should be made directly responsible to their respective provincial governments.

          The funds for local governments should come from provincial governments.

          The Centre should be refrained from meddling in their work.

          In addition, the existing districts should be transformed into federating units.

          This would bring administration close to the doorsteps of people.

          *The financial powers of provinces should also be augmented.

          Article 160(3) of the Constitution should be carefully amended and some of taxes should be transferred to provinces.

          I suggest that hundred per cent of GST should be transferred to provinces.

          Secondly, the pattern of distribution of revenues between federation and provinces, under National Finance Commission (NFC), should be judiciously altered.

          The distribution of revenues between the provinces and the Centre should be on the basis of 50 per cent each.

          As far as distribution of revenues among provinces is concerned, the population should not be the sole criterion.

          Apart from population, factors of collection and relative backwardness of the province should also be taken into account.

          Amending the relative provisions of the Constitution should do this.

          *The powers of Senate, upper chamber of parliament representing the provinces on parity basis, should be bolstered.

          It should be made at par with the National Assembly in legislative and financial spheres.

          It should also share with the National Assembly the powers of choosing and removing governments.

          All cabinet-ministers, including Prime Minister, should be equally responsible to the Senate.

          Moreover, the Senate should be invested with exclusive powers of ratifying federal appointments as well as treaties concluded by federal government.

          A comparatively powerful Senate, like US-Senate, would augment provincial autonomy without impairing the federation.

          *Taking cue from the American Constitution, the emergency clauses of 1973 Constitution should be scrapped.

          For, they have always been misused by the ruling party at Centre.

          It may not only relieve the provinces from the straitjacket of Centre but also create harmony between them.

          *Baluchistan and NWFP should be given weightage representation in National Assembly owing to their great share in energy resources of the country.

          The federal system in Pakistan, if brought in conformity with the aforementioned proposals, may not only bring an end to the persisting tug-of-war between Centre and provinces but also eradicate the prevailing disharmony between Punjab and the small federating units.

          It will be in national interest, because all provinces will be able to make progress and provide services to the people.

          How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?


            Zakk, Maula, Baksh and Real Deal

            I wonder above reports did not mention the name of ZAB who had always been held responsible for 1971 breakup by the elite or ruling mafia. Authors had correctly analyzed the cause of breakup and cause of failure as a state.

            Many times I was blended as Indian or un-patriotic by pointing exactly the same arguments for the failure. It seems lots of people are thinking like me, perhaps they are also ‘Indians’ or ‘un-patriotic’

            Thanks for sharing these articles.

            For Pro-dictators of this Forum

            Read these articles "Shahid dil main uttar jaiay meri baat"

            Farid-The Visionary


              Provincial rights: Nationalists’ political stunt
              By Shaheen Buneri

              PESHAWAR: Why there is a sense of deprivation among the smaller provinces? Why no one considers the fact that a stronger Pakistan is better than a stronger Islamabad? All the demands and grievances expressed by the regional leaders and nationalist political parties can be summed in these two questions.

              Every one knows that statements about the provincial autonomy, equal distribution of natural resources and granting of full provincial and constitutional rights to the provinces are the biggest political stunts that different political parties are using for their political future.

              As a matter of fact majority of these parties are not fully interested to solve the problems of their people and most often prefer their own interests rather than the problems faced by the masses.

              However, the government's proposed constitutional package has compelled the nationalists to adopt same stand on the issues relating to the provinces and thus arouse the masses' deteriorating interests in the country's affairs.

              Before the government's proposed constitutional package the political parties were either silent, or indifferent or were the supporters of the government and did not give enough importance to the provincial issues but when the government showed its miracles and proposed such steps that would further endanger the provinces' rights, they shun their hibernation and started criticizing the government for its self-centred policies.

              "The proposed constitutional package will endanger the federal parliamentary structure of the country. It will deprive smaller provinces of their rights that will further intensify the existing deprivation. As a matter of fact a stable Pakistan is not possible without stable and financially self-sufficient provinces. The fact should be considered that when people do not find legal ways they will definitely adopt illegal methods for the acceptance of their demands.

              It was strange to know that the total provincial budget of NWFP was 13 billions but the province pay 38.7 billions excise duty on tobacco crops to the federal government. Still the federal government neither spent the money on the developmental works in NWFP nor on the welfare of the farmers. On the contrary it sent the amount to the divisible pole.

              "This is not a just attitude and will further widen the distance between the province's people and the federal government", Asfandyar Wali Khan, central president of ANP said last week while addressing a seminar.

              Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, central leader of ANP says, "Punjab's dictatorship is one another name of democracy in Pakistan".

              Aftab Shiekh, convenor of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is of the opinion that Punjab had deprived the smaller provinces from their due rights. We will have to avoid any more soio-political crisis in the country and the safe path to this destination is granting full provincial autonomy to the provinces. I suggest that except four main subjects all the powers should be given to the provinces. Financial power should be given to the senate and an end should be put to the Punjab dominancy.

              Dr.Qadir Mugsi, president of the Sindh Tarraqqi Pasand Tehrik, who is famous for his fiery statements against Punjab most often says that the resolutions of three provincial assemblies regarding the construction of Kalabagh dam have no importance before the Punjab dominated civil and military bureaucracy and the Punjabi politicians. They always usurped the rights of smaller provinces. It is crying need of the hour that the politicians of smaller provinces come out of the circle of political diplomacy and demand in clear cut terms that the country needed a new social contract that can safeguard the social, cultural and political rights of all the provinces without any discrimination.

              Afzal Khan the chief of Pakhtunkhwa Qaumi Party is of the opinion that Pashtuns can not progress unless they forget their differences, and unite against the establishment. Pashtoons' national unity is the single way to their prosperity and bright future. They should consider the people on the other side of the border as their brothers and struggle for their rights, which have been usurped by others since long.

              The Pakistan Oppressed Nationalities Movement (PONM) is also continuously demanding for the formation of national units, and full autonomy to them. The political parties included in PONM are united on one point that the social, political, cultural, linguistic and historical values of each nationality should be respected and they should be given a chance to live in accordance with them.

              This sort of resentment and sense of deprivations among the masses has given a new chance to the nationalist parties to earn the people's favour. Now this is a glaring reality that without just sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces the long standing issues and national problems will remain unresolved for ever.

              It is crying need of the hour that all the stakeholders consider this fact and jointly work for the resolution of differences between the federal and provincial structures, that in turn will culminate in establishing a stable, prosperous and truly democratic Pakistan.

              How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?


                Keeping NWFP, Balochistan apart intentionally?
                Random Thoughts

                By Haroon Rashid

                Why is that both successive governments, including the present one, and Pashtoon parties have kept a criminal mum over the issue of improving communication links between the two western provinces of NWFP and Balochistan? Fifty-four years of independence and people of the two provinces with so much in common are still divided. They don't have a direct highway linking them and the national airline PIA has made matters worse by suspending flights between the two provincial capitals of Peshawar and Quetta since October last year.

                Travelling between Peshawar and Quetta these days is probably the most difficult thing to do. A hapless traveller has two options either to take the road or a flight. If he chooses road, he will have to endure a long seemingly endless journey to D.I. Khan and then a kacha road to Zhob. If his bones are still intact and he is fortunate enough to survive the ordeal he can be in Quetta after 18 to 20 hours without taking any breaks. Travelling with family is completely out of question.

                The actual journey between Peshawar and Quetta could be brought down to a mere 12 hours, if the D.I. Khan-Zhob road is mettled. This small patch is taking ages to complete. One hears deadlines after deadlines from government officials about its completion, but nothing actually seems to be happening on the ground. A Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) official was the last one I heard saying the road would be complete by end of this year. Can this happen is anyone guess.

                Economic experts believe the completion of this road could help boost trade between Balochistan and NWFP by manifold, apart from facilitating travellers. At the moment, Balochistan is more like a foreign country as far as travel from Peshawar to it is concerned.

                The other option of taking a flight is not a pleasant one as well, thanks to PIA. A traveller will first have to travel to Islamabad for a three-hour journey before boarding the plane. If that unfortunate person has to return to Peshawar as well it is six-hours then. Plus not many people can hardly afford expenses involved in a journey to Islamabad alongwith the soaring ticket price. There is a considerable difference between fares of Quetta-Islamabad and Quetta-Peshawar routes. Islamabad used to be dearer by at least Rs 400, until Quetta-Peshawar flights were operating.

                Till October 2001, travel was easy for those who could afford over Rs 8000 return flight between Quetta and the federal capital. A number of direct and indirect Peshawar-Quetta flights were available at one time as well. But PIA officials taking benefit of the Afghanistan situation scrapped all Peshawar-Quetta flights altogather last October.

                The indirect flight through D.I. Khan-Zhob operating three times a week were also stopped. These flights were being operated since early seventies after the inauguration of Dera Airport. According to the PIA authorities, due to lack and shortage of Fokker aircraft, maximum number of Fokker flights had been disconnected but no alternative arrangements were provided. With the disconnection of these flights, passengers flying overseas for Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Doha and Alain are facing various difficulties in reaching their destinations because these Fokker flights were earlier connected with international flights. In short, complete cut off. Things have improved a lot since the downfall of Taliban Islamic movement regime in Afghanistan. But not as far as PIA's Peshawar-Quetta operation is concerned. The Balochistan Governor Justice (Retd) Amirul Mulk Mengal the other day took up the matter with PIA officials during a meeting in Quetta. He asked them to immediately start flights to Peshawar to facilitate travel for businessmen and ordinary passengers. However, nothing of this sort has happened in Peshawar. Neither its business community nor its government has taken up the matter with PIA.

                The reason why no one is paying attention to improving communication between the two provinces is quite evident. Many believe it is being done intentionally to prevent Pashtoon in the two provinces getting united to pose a challenge to Punjab.

                Even if this is not the case, continued delay in improving road network and resumption of flights is cementing the impression. After all, if motorways can be built to provide alternate route for travel why can't money be spent on establishing non-existing road links.

                How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?


                  Everybody except pro-Army puppets are of the view that Panjab has deprived the smaller provinces in Pakistan to fill its own pockets. For Panjab, Balochistan is a large gas station, Sarhad is an electricity generator, Sindh is a port, all meant to serve Punjab's economy. And anyone who dares question the illegal status quo is a Hindu agent.

                  When the locals start realizing what Punajb's dirty agenda is, Islamic propoganda is introduced to calm people down and not question the rulers. Just look at how Taliban was used and then thrown away to suit Punjab.

                  But thankfully, many nationalist politicians are now aware of this game. The Bengalis are not the only ones who will succeed in breaking the illegitmate ruling mafia.

                  Pakistan, as it was envisoned no longer exists today, and thus all the resolutions passed by various provinces to be part of Pakistan have become null and void. Provinces can now legally declare their independence if Punjab does not go back to the 1940 Lahore Resolution and its demands.

                  Right now, Pakistan is an illegal creation as it has not lived up to its orignal intention. It is a basic human right for people to move on to better things, if their voices are not heard in the present setup.

                  [This message has been edited by Maula Baksh (edited August 05, 2002).]


                    The issue of federalism


                    10 August 2002 Saturday 30 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423

                    By Dr Sohail Mahmood

                    The second proposed constitutional package marks a significant structural change in Pakistan's political system. As expected, General Musharraf has retained absolute power for himself.

                    The first fact to be noted is that the military has ruled Pakistan for most of its existence. This is the fourth military regime and not very different from the previous ones. The coming general elections in October are not going to herald a new era of democracy in the country.

                    Article 63A relates to the disqualification of the members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and the members of the provincial assemblies (MPAs). The measures to ensure strict party discipline in the legislatures are indeed stringent. Strong political parties are needed to ensure an effective legislature. Also, the earlier horse-trading culture will end once and for all. These measures, therefore, may be endorsed.

                    The document correctly points out that the central authority should only perform those functions that cannot be performed at the local level. This is the essence of federalism. Therefore, the Federal Concurrent Legislative List on which both the federal and provincial governments have jurisdiction has been divided into two parts. In part II of this list the federal government will provide only framework legislation.

                    The document has a list of Articles that will be changed along with the Fourth Schedule. In principle we commend this move as a positive development towards the goal of enhancing provincial autonomy. However, the detailed changes to ensure this have not been spelt out. We need to see the exact changes made in the long list and the Fourth Schedule.

                    It would have been better if the document had these changes given in the text rather than just mentioning them as requiring amendments.

                    The Council Of Common Interest (CCI) is a forum mainly to resolve a dispute between the federal government and the provincial governments on matters like water sharing and provincial rights over income from hydro power, natural gas, oil etc. The Article 153 has been changed to strengthen the CII. Specifically, the said Article will be amended to change the composition of the CII, to provide for its permanent secretariat, and to make quarterly meetings of the CII mandatory. However, the exact change in the membership of the CII is not given. How will the provincial Governments have a greater say in the CII? Will the federal government vote be reduced to just one instead of the previous four? We do not know. The document is silent on the new composition of the CII.

                    The National Economic Council (NEC) has also been revamped. It shall become the apex economic body of the federal government. The Planning Commission may be strengthened by elevating the status of the deputy chairman, Planning Commission who is a minister of state to a full-fledged federal minister and chairman of the commission. The chairman of the current planning commission is the finance minister who is currently over-burdened with the responsibilities of his office and is already heading the finance ministry. We need a more effective planning commission to formulate the details of the old five-year plans and also the new ten-year plans.

                    On matters of Inter-governmental fiscal relations in Pakistan the document correctly notes the main problem - highly centralized system, weak provincial tax administration systems, dependence of provinces on fiscal transfers from the federal government.

                    The federal government can have jurisdiction over income, excise, import duties or levies, customs, tariff and corporate taxes only. Later on, all revenue from trade like customs, tariff and import duties and levies is merged into one single tax to be called import tax.

                    The provincial governments have total jurisdiction over all types of sales tax (taxes at the point of sales of both goods and services like the GST, for example).

                    All property taxes and local service fees, permits for building, etc. should be given to the local government. The issue of inter-governmental fiscal relations is very critical to the health of not only the economy but the federation itself. The cursory manner in which the document treats this matter is unwarranted. After all, we have been waiting for this formula for over a year. Surely the military regime could have done a better job here.

                    The document continues with the details of strengthening the accountability mechanisms in the country. As expected, the NAB has been made a permanent constitutional office. The document merely mentions that the scope of the law covers every citizen indulging in corruption.

                    The proposal to empower the president "in his discretion" to appoint a long list of the most important offices of the country is the most significant part of the package. The proposal gives very substantial powers of appointment to the president for some of the most important offices in the country, namely: the Chief Election Commissioner; Auditor General and Chairman, Federal Public Service Commission, Armed Forces' chiefs, CJCSC, also Vice _ _

                    Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force; Governors and members of Central Board of the State Bank of Pakistan, chairman, NAB. Similarly, the governors of the provinces are empowered to appoint the chairman of the provincial public service commission but with the proviso of "ascertaining the views of the chief minister". This is in tandem with the president's powers of appointment in the federal government. The implementation of the proposal, if taken along with the reinstatement of a modified form of Article 58(2b) which has empowered the president in the first package, Pakistan has definitely moved towards a presidential system.

                    The composition of the Supreme Judicial Council has been altered and it shall now be composed of all the chief justices of the High Courts. The jurisdiction has been strengthened also as the body is "empowered to inquire into the matter given in Article 209 of its own accord as well". In principle, any strengthening of the Judiciary is commendable.

                    The text gives the procedure of removal of the chairman NAB, Chairman FPSC in accordance with Article 209 for the removal of the office of the judge. The removal of Auditor General and CEC is similar. The removal of a judge as per Article 209 is a cumbersome procedure as is proper with the status of the office and now the above offices have also been given such protection.

                    The last proposal pertains to the issue of Constitutional amendments. It merely gives the concession of adding a minimum time period (60 days) for the public debate prior to the initial discussion of the proposed bill by either house of parliament.
                    How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?


                      Creating an unequal society


                      By Kaiser Bengali

                      The conventional view that has been presented for the last many years by state as well as donor agencies is that poverty in Pakistan has grown in the 1990s on account of low GDP growth and which is itself a product of poor governance. Recent research has, however, challenged this conventional wisdom. Rather, substantial empirical evidence has been presented to link poor economic performance with specific policy formulations. The most shocking revelation is that the route to increased poverty has proceeded through growing inequality.

                      The increase in poverty has generally been attributed to low GDP growth in the 1990s. However, low growth cannot by itself be poverty inducing. If the distribution of income is reasonably equal, low but positive growth in per capita income is likely to lead to small increases in the earnings of all or most income groups. At worst, the rate of poverty reduction will decline. In Pakistan's case real per capita income has grown over the 1990s at one per cent per annum. Some poverty reduction - howsoever small - is, therefore, in order. That poverty has instead increased can primarily be attributed to a high degree of inequality in the distribution of income and to a further increase in inequality.

                      Part of the growth in poverty can also be attributed to the failure of social policy, particularly in the provision of housing, education, health care and public health. While the upper income groups have been able to afford access to the market for these services, the poor have been effectively excluded on account of lack of affordability.

                      Despite tall claims and sophisticated jugglery of monetary statistics, the economic situation is pathetic, with 6.5 per cent of the labour force unemployed and 38 per cent of the population subsisting below the poverty line. Between 1999 and 2001 alone, 350,000 people have been rendered unemployed and seven million have been pushed below the poverty line. Ironically, the percentage of population below the poverty line today is nearly the same as it was in 1964. As far as the poor are concerned, Pakistan has returned nearly where it was about 35 years ago. This has happened because neither the benefits of development nor the costs of economic adjustments appear to have been distributed equitably.

                      Income inequality was severe to begin with but has increased over time. Between 1988 and 1998, the income share of the richest 20 per cent of the population has increased from 44 per cent to 47 per cent, while that of the poorest 20 per cent has declined from nine per cent to eight per cent. As a result, the purchasing power of the richest segment rose by 23 per cent and that of the poorest segment rose by a meager two per cent. In absolute terms, if Rs 100 are distributed among 100 households, equal distribution would imply that each household receives Rs 1.00. Given the actual situation of unequal distribution, the top 20 households would each receive Rs 2.33 each and the bottom 20 households would each receive a mere 40 paisa each.

                      Regional inequality between the provinces and within the provinces has worsened as well. The analysis of deprivation level in the 100 districts of the country shows that a north-south divide has emerged in the country, with the percentage decrease in the Deprivation Index being the highest in Punjab and the lowest in Balochistan. The rural economies of Punjab and the NWFP have shown considerable dynamism.

                      Rural Punjab has emerged as the economic powerhouse of the province and Punjab is the only province where nearly half of its rural population can be classified as being in a state of low deprivation. Rural NWFP has also posted significant gains and propelled a substantial proportion of the rural population out of the high deprivation category. Today, nearly half its rural population can be classified as medium deprivation and a quarter of its rural population as low deprivation.

                      By contrast, rural Sindh has deteriorated. Only three per cent of Sindh's rural population classifies as low deprivation and half its rural population subsists in a state of high deprivation. Sindh's development lag can also be seen from the fact that Hyderabad, the second least deprived district of Sindh, ranks 12th in terms of national ranking.

                      Balochistan has remained trapped in a high deprivation state, with 89 per cent of its rural population classifying as high deprivation. This is despite the initiation of a number of major development projects over the years. For example, the industrial estate in Hub Chowki has emerged as an enclave of exclusive benefit to entrepreneurs from Punjab and Karachi and only marginally benefited local labour. There is widespread fear in the province that the development of Gwadar port will likewise create another enclave, bypassing the people of Balochistan.

                      Inequality within the provinces is also shown to be high. In Punjab, a north-south divide has emerged, with all low deprivation districts being in northern and central Punjab and none in southern Punjab and all the most deprived districts being in south and southwest Punjab. In Sindh, Karachi stands far above the rest of the province and the high deprivation districts are concentrated in the north and southwest of the province.

                      In the NWFP, the low deprivation districts are located in Peshawar valley and southern Hazara, with districts in the mountain areas and southern plains classifying as high deprivation. In Balochistan, with the exception of Quetta and Ziarat, the entire province falls in the high deprivation category.

                      Presumably, the reasons for growing income inequality in the 1990s lie in the economic liberalization and the move towards a market economy and the retreat of the public sector as an equalizing force. Market-determined outcomes tend to serve those who are better endowed and reinforces inequalities and this is what appears to have happened. The thrust of macroeconomic policy since 1988 has been the pursuit of stabilization objectives at the cost of growth objectives.

                      This policy has been pursued with renewed vigour since 1999. Central to this policy has been a contractionary monetary and fiscal policy, thus inducing recessionary conditions, and this has in turn stunted GDP growth and increased unemployment and poverty. All stabilization objectives were achieved, at least till 2001. But it is instructive to see as to how these targets were achieved.

                      The budget deficit to GDP ratio was reduced to 5.4 per cent by applying cuts in development expenditure rather than by curtailing current expenditures. The current account balance was slashed to 1.1 per cent on account of a reduction of imports rather than by raising exports. The inflation rate was brought down to 5.4 per cent by suppressing consumer purchasing power. Far from low inflation benefiting the poor, it is poverty itself that is responsible for low inflation. The insensitivity of the policy prescriptions can be seen from the fact that even medicines have been slapped with a sales tax.

                      The resulting impact on growth indicators was not surprising. Investment as a percentage of GDP declined from an average of 18 per cent during 1977-88 to 13 per cent in 2001. This is also indicative of the fact that private sector credit off-take has declined from Rs. 83 billion in 2001 to Rs. 34 billion in 2002. Yet another indication is the nearly 60 per cent decline of Gross Fixed Capital Formation in construction from Rs 1.7 billion in 1996 to 0.7 billion in 2001. As a result, GDP growth collapsed from an average of 6.9 per cent in 1977-88 to 3.3 per cent in 2001. The ensuing effect on unemployment and poverty was obvious. The poor have been made to bear a disproportionately large share of the cost of adjustment.

                      Social policy in Pakistan has also suffered from consistent failure. What, however, has not been sufficiently highlighted is the fact that the impact of this failure has been unequally distributed. The collective production and provision of public goods and services tends to reduce unit costs and is of paramount importance to low income households.

                      This is due to the possibility of bulk production and provision and the economies of scale accruing thereof. The economies of scale from large-scale, collective provision obtains whether the facility is under state or private ownership; although, under state ownership, there is the possibility of cross-subsidization and, resultantly, of further reduction in the unit price at which the service is provided. Private producers are, however, unlikely to provide services of a public good nature, with the result that poorer consumers are effectively excluded.

                      The importance of public services for the poor notwithstanding, there appears to have been a sustained abdication by the state of its social responsibilities. This is evident from the following: One, Plan allocations for housing declined from over 10 per cent in the First Plan to 0.9 per cent in the Eighth Plan. Two, real growth in total development and recurring expenditure on education, health care and public health decreased from an average of about 14 per cent during 1981-88 to an average of 1.6 per cent during 1988-99. During 1999-01, expenditures on these heads actually fell by an average of 1.4 per cent annually.

                      The last decade and a half has seen the failure of the five-point programme and of the Social Action Programme. However, the failure to provide housing for the poor spans the entire history of the country. Not surprisingly, 38 per cent of the households still live in one-room houses and 72 per cent of houses do not have independent toilet facilities. On the other hand, plots have been allotted in official housing schemes to upper-income civil service officials at subsidized rates.

                      Military officers have benefited likewise from plot allotments in cantonments and military lands at subsidized rates. Residential areas developed by defence housing authorities are epitomes of luxury housing. Ironically, while it is the poor who are in need of subsidies, it is the rich whom the state has endowed with subsidized housing.

                      Unequal societies are unjust societies. And unjust societies lose their moral and political legitimacy. Attention to the problem of income and regional inequality is thus not only important but also urgent. While poverty causes hardships and deprivation for those caught in the poverty web, inequality causes a sense of grievance and injustice, promotes despondency and anger, and generates social and political instability and even violence. Terrorism is a buzzword today, but those who are concerned about terrorism should pay close attention to the problem of inequality.

                      How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?