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    Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden?

    Some valid points raised by the author.

    Should Punjab carry Pakistan


    Should Punjab carry Pakistan’s burden?




    The writer is a political economist


    The evidence is quite clear: Punjab is far more developed than the rest of Pakistan; it has been growing faster, has far less terrorism than Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) or Karachi, and almost none of Karachi’s regular shutdowns. Shahid Javed Burki has written a number of well-argued articles on these pages arguing this point.


    The question of what ‘Punjab’ is, is clearly central to any fair assessment of Punjab’s presumed success and prospects. Of course, there are very wide disparities within Punjab itself, a fact recognised by anyone who talks about Punjab, with southern Punjab, in many ways, worse than many of Sindh’s districts in terms of underdevelopment. One highly respected Lahore-based researcher has called the Takht-e-Lahore an oppressive entity usurping the rights, resources and identities of the Seraiki people, equating central and northern Punjab (and Punjabis) to colonisers. One can also complicate such analysis by asking whether the Punjabi industrialist in Karachi, or agricultural settler in Sindh, or trader in Gilgit, ‘belongs to’ Punjab in any meaningful way, and , what such location means to understanding regional and subregional administrative structures. Despite such disparities and questions of methodology, there is still a province in Pakistan called Punjab, and until there are more provinces in Pakistan (with Punjab needing at least three), one can continue to speak of an entity called ‘Punjab’.


    The question arises, then: should prosperous Punjab, which has all the attributes listed above, carry the rest of Pakistan with it? Now that Punjab’s political leadership is also the party in power in Pakistan, does one expect this political leadership to sort out the other problem provinces in Pakistan (all three), as well? Or should it concentrate just on Punjab, for as we know, whoever rules Punjab, rules Pakistan? For some, Punjab is Pakistan, and vice versa.


    The term ‘should’, showing a choice, differentiates clearly from ‘can’, showing ability. Clearly, Punjab can, especially with the same party ruling Islamabad and Lahore, devise public policy and economic programmes, which are non-partisan and are what people still call “in the greater interests of the nation”. This is bound to happen, even unconsciously, as many policies are to be devised, which will have broadly similar effects across Pakistan. Taxation, pricing policy for energy and petrol, trade, and numerous other topics ought to be province-neutral, although given the economic impact of Punjab (and Karachi), these two regions might be more affected. Something as straightforward as uninterrupted power supplies will have a beneficial impact across Pakistan, but will also have a differential impact on users, and since parts of Punjab and Karachi consume more energy, they may benefit disproportionately


    The question of ‘should’ is more complex. If the PML-N was not in power in Islamabad, what interest would the Punjab government in Lahore have of fixing Balochistan? Or the militancy problem in K-P? And would the Punjab government have the means and jurisdiction to intervene in any meaningful way? Probably not. An influential public policy analyst from Lahore threw up his hands in dismay and said that Punjab was fed up of having to suffer on account of Karachi, Balochistan and K-P, adding that “it should go its own way”, a view he said was gaining ground in Lahore. This was before the elections.


    Ironically, only if Islamabad and Punjab are ruled by the same party would there be incentives and externalities to helping the rest of Pakistan, which would be far greater than just helping Punjab, but with Punjab benefiting more, as a result. This does not mean that the centre usurp the rights of other provinces, something which it cannot do after the Eighteenth Amendment, but it does mean that both Islamabad and Lahore would need to work together for the welfare and development of the other provinces as well. A trouble-free Karachi and K-P allow for more trade to and from Punjab, increasing economic activity, benefiting everyone, as would better relations with India. The responsibility on Islamabad is far greater than just helping the brothers in Lahore. And if Lahore can help Islamabad, even better. However, in order to stop the continued domination of Punjab and of Karachi over the rest of the country, the three provincial governments need to develop their own provinces as well, so that they can also benefit from gains which may accrue. Perhaps, what is good for Punjab may be good for the rest of the country. And, vice versa.


    Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2013.


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    “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

    #2
    Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

    It's a provocative article, will see how the discussion progresses.
    “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

    Comment


      #3
      Yes .. because thats what siblings do... Help each other out...
      Its bigger on the inside!!

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

        If Punjab doesn't want to "carry" Pakistan's burden, why don't they give up?

        This article sounds nonsense at a time when even Punjabis like myself are getting to realize how much of burden we have been on the rest of Pakistan. The trouble in Karachi i.e. MQM was not created by Sindhis but by the Punjabi dominated federal establishment headed by Punjabis. It was not the pathans of KP and elsewhere who decided to join the CIA funded jihad, it was again the Punjabi dominated establishment headed by Punjabis. These two are the major issues in Pakistan today that Punjabis are responsible for.

        This 'intellectual' claims that Punjab based Government is carrying burden of Pakistan, but the reality is that Punjabis force their mandate on the rest of the provinces. How hard was it for Nawaz Sharif to win these elections? he just had to buy a few dozen Punjabi baradaris to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan? There are no baradaris for sale in Balochistan, Sindh and KP. This is how Punjab has been marginalizing the mandate of other provinces. Punjab is also known for producing the most dual faced opportunistic politicians. We in Punjab blame Benazir and Zardari for PPP's corruption, what about the whole army of Punjabi politicians under them? Even in Musharraf's time, most of corruption was committed by Punjab based politicians.

        So I think the reality is the opposite to what the writer claims, the rest of Pakistan has been carrying Punjab's burden.
        Last edited by Geezer; Aug 2, 2013, 11:15 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

          Originally posted by Ali_Syed View Post
          It's a provocative article, will see how the discussion progresses.
          Definitely very provocative article, seems like a different agenda being brought to life? Some inconsistencies:
          Originally posted by Ali_Syed View Post
          Some valid points raised by the author.

          Should Punjab carry Pakistan


          Should Punjab carry Pakistan’s burden?




          The writer is a political economist


          The evidence is quite clear: Punjab is far more developed than the rest of Pakistan; it has been growing faster, has far less terrorism than Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) or Karachi, and almost none of Karachi’s regular shutdowns. Shahid Javed Burki has written a number of well-argued articles on these pages arguing this point.

          The question of what ‘Punjab’ is, is clearly central to any fair assessment of Punjab’s presumed success and prospects. Of course, there are very wide disparities within Punjab itself, a fact recognised by anyone who talks about Punjab, with southern Punjab, in many ways, worse than many of Sindh’s districts in terms of underdevelopment. One highly respected Lahore-based researcher has called the Takht-e-Lahore an oppressive entity usurping the rights, resources and identities of the Seraiki people, equating central and northern Punjab (and Punjabis) to colonisers. One can also complicate such analysis by asking whether the Punjabi industrialist in Karachi, or agricultural settler in Sindh, or trader in Gilgit, ‘belongs to’ Punjab in any meaningful way, and , what such location means to understanding regional and subregional administrative structures. Despite such disparities and questions of methodology, there is still a province in Pakistan called Punjab, and until there are more provinces in Pakistan (with Punjab needing at least three), one can continue to speak of an entity called ‘Punjab’.

          The question arises, then: should prosperous Punjab, which has all the attributes listed above, carry the rest of Pakistan with it? Now that Punjab’s political leadership is also the party in power in Pakistan, does one expect this political leadership to sort out the other problem provinces in Pakistan (all three), as well? Or should it concentrate just on Punjab, for as we know, whoever rules Punjab, rules Pakistan? For some, Punjab is Pakistan, and vice versa.
          Shouldn't Punjab first focus on removing disparities within itself first before idiots like this can argue "carry the rest of Pakistan with it"?

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

            For a start Punjab can carry the burden by taking a meaningful action against LEJ/JEM which creates havoc in Balochistan, Karachi and KPK.
            “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

              Originally posted by Captain1 View Post
              Definitely very provocative article, seems like a different agenda being brought to life? Some inconsistencies:

              Shouldn't Punjab first focus on removing disparities within itself first before idiots like this can argue "carry the rest of Pakistan with it"?
              There is no doubt that Punjab should try to develop all areas equitably, a lot needs to be done in South Punjab to bring it at par with other parts of the province. All of Punjab's gas comes from Balochistan/Sindh, power from AJK and KPK and most of NFC share from Tax raised in Karachi and still some people believe that the province is bearing the load of others.

              As far as the writer is concerned, he is pointing out that the party which wins Punjab wins the country and then they focus more on the province (ignoring other three). He is making a point that they should focus on the smaller provinces as well. If Punjab is not in power (on the federal level) I think they can only try to force the federal government to work for the other provinces, but cant do much (otherwise) as it would be seen as infringing on the rights of the provinces.
              “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                Idiotic premise.

                Development should be devolved to provinces and districts. It is not responsibility of central government to ensure development in all geographical locations. Individual districts should be responsible for that. There is no country in the world where federating units are equally developed, anyways.

                Ideally, Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and KPK should be divided into ~10 provinces with each province responsible for development for their own area. Federal government should only be concerned with long term planning and resource distribution, as far as development goes.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                  Is he calling for the break up of Pakistan? If so then he will find many allies in smaller provinces wanting the same.
                  The writer says that Punjab is developing much faster than the rest of Pakistan. Those guys have been saying it for a long time.

                  If the writer thinks that this development in his province is due to the efforts of its own government then how would he explain far less development on Siraiki areas of Punjab? They also share the same government as the northern Punjab, yet are far less developed.
                  kahoon kis se mein ye ja kar, meri qaum e bad-guloo ne
                  mujhe qatl kar diya he, ba-gunah e khush nawaai
                  - Josh

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                    Originally posted by STONECOLD View Post
                    Yes .. because thats what siblings do... Help each other out...
                    How do you think other siblings will feel if one sibling gets the lion's share of resources which belong to all?
                    whether one agrees with it or not, that is how a lot of people in other provinces feel. So they are the allies of this writer in withering away of Pakistan.
                    kahoon kis se mein ye ja kar, meri qaum e bad-guloo ne
                    mujhe qatl kar diya he, ba-gunah e khush nawaai
                    - Josh

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                      Originally posted by Ali_Syed View Post
                      .... most of NFC share from Tax raised in Karachi and still some people believe that the province is bearing the load of others. ......
                      This is sort of a myth that most of Tax is 'raised' from Karachi. Collected, yes, raised, no. Most of our income tax comes from corporations and salaried individuals and most headquarters of corporations are based in Karachi. Income tax paid by, for example, Engro would be 'collected' in Karachi, regardless where the plants are located. And, for example, income tax collected by MCB from all its employees would eventually be collected in Karachi where the head office is based, regardless where the employees are based.

                      Same is the case with import duties, sales tax on import/export, custom duties. Regardless where the industry is based, these taxes are collected at Karachi port.

                      Karachi contributes 20% of GDP of Pakistan... that is true. Karachi contributes 70% to revenues, that is BS. Sorry for being so blunt.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                        Originally posted by khoji View Post
                        Is he calling for the break up of Pakistan? If so then he will find many allies in smaller provinces wanting the same.
                        The writer says that Punjab is developing much faster than the rest of Pakistan. Those guys have been saying it for a long time.

                        If the writer thinks that this development in his province is due to the efforts of its own government then how would he explain far less development on Siraiki areas of Punjab? They also share the same government as the northern Punjab, yet are far less developed.
                        The writer is not from punjab.
                        “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                          Originally posted by Ali_Syed View Post
                          The writer is not from punjab.
                          Well, then it explains why he wants break up of Pakistan. He is only sugar coating things to make punjabis agree with him.
                          kahoon kis se mein ye ja kar, meri qaum e bad-guloo ne
                          mujhe qatl kar diya he, ba-gunah e khush nawaai
                          - Josh

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                            what a gimmicks with words.
                            If we have to create fuss, let not some one else to set where we start.

                            Lets start, how come faisal abad, sialkot make most money and lahore get all the freaking development.
                            Should we really carry wait of lahore its its fat [email protected]@ shareefs ???
                            ﺃﷲ ﻧﯣﺮ ﺇﺴﻣﺇﯣﺇﺕ ﯣﺇﻠﺄﺮﺾ_ Best cheese-maker of monkVille

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Should Punjab carry Pakistan's burden

                              Well, if Punjab goes its own way, then they lose electricity and gas, both of which primarily come from KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan. They lose access to the seaport, which means they lose access to imports, or at the least, they have to pay a lot more to Sindh for access to sea based imports. I reckon if there ever is such a split, Punjab will prefer India for its business dealings, rather than Sindh/KPK.

                              But of course, even the notion is impractical. Punjab needs to fix a lot more internally than is shown. Seemingly, Punjab is limited to Lahore-Raiwind...and the mess that exists beyond this nexus never gets to see the light of day. South Punjab, the degradation of industries in Faisalabad and Sialkot, the covert govt support for sectarian terrorist parties like LEJ etc will readily turn Punjab into another Karachi, given the chance.
                              The Thread Killer!

                              Comment

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