The following article, “Creation of New Provinces On Ethnic and Linguistic Bases Weakens the National Integration.” is written by Haseena Naz, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
- ✓The beauty of a federation in its diverse religious and ethnolinguistic culture
- ✓A prosperous federation, a wild goose chase in the absence of a devolved administrative structure
- ✓The United States of America (USA) proven to be a knight in shining armour in this regard, as it shows how multi-cultural regions can co-exist and prosper in this modern world
- ✓Pakistan – being an ally of the USA since independence – not having learnt a single lesson about the development of a decentralized federating system
2- Importance of national integration for a country
3- How can creating new provinces on an ethno-linguistic basis weaken the national integration in Pakistan?
- ✓Creating more chaos among the provinces over the proper distribution of resources aggravates national disintegration.
- Case in point: Sindh and Punjab tussle over the distribution of water and economic resources, adding fuel to the fire
- ✓Providing an opportunity for certain political leaders to propagate their ethnic politics divides people on tribal and lingual basis.
- Case in point: The creation of Saraiki province in Punjab would certainly trigger the Hazara community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa(KPK) deteriorating integration
- ✓ Shattering the ideology of creating a country on oneness and making people follow ethnolinguistic philosophy
- Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said, “We are now all Pakistanis, not Balochis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis, and so on. And as Pakistanis, we must feel, behave, and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”
- ✓Emerging new ethnic and linguistic groups dilute national integration.
- Case in Point: The emergence of ethnic and linguistic groups, such as the Hazara Democratic Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party in Balochistan, raising alarms for separation
4- How can Pakistan tackle this issue efficiently and sagaciously?
- ✓To empower local government structure
- ✓To promote diversity and co-existence at national level
- ✓To distribute resources equally among all the stakeholders
- ✓ To create divisions on an administrative basis
5- Critical Analysis
Answer to the Question
The beauty of a federation lies in its diverse religious and ethno-linguistic culture. However, developing a prosperous federation is a wild goose chase without a devolved administrative structure. Therefore, devolution of power based on administration requirements is necessary for a country’s social, political, and economic progress. The United States of America (USA) has proven to be a knight in shining armour in this regard as it shows how multi-cultural regions can co-exist and prosper in this modern world with the help of a proper administrative system. On the other hand, Pakistan- an ally of the USA since independence- has not learned a single lesson about developing a decentralized federating system. The country has developed a highly centralized system, curbing the rights of many for some; consequently, the demand for new provinces on the basis ethno linguistic instead of administrative basis gradually has raised head in the country, which has proven to be a bullet in the heart of the national integration. Moreover, it has also shredded the founding ideology of one nation, one body, into pieces. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost. Hence, it is high time the government took some steps, such as strengthening the local government structure, promoting inter-cultural programs and exhibitions, and dividing the regions on an administrative rather than ethno-lingual basis.
Importance of national integration for a country
National integration plays a vital role in making the country one by uniting every section of the society irrespective of caste, religion, gender or geographical location. It gives an equal opportunity to every citizen and provides an equal platform for social, cultural and economic development. It helps to unite minorities and gives them the freedom to live their life in their own way without any interference. National integration is also crucial for the country’s development as the country with national unity will always flourish and develop and will have very few internal issues.
National Integration leads to National Harmony
National integration- awareness of a common identity among the citizens of a country provides an anchor to the wandering ship of a country. National integration has proven to be an essential pillar for the progress of a country. However, Pakistan, a federation since its independence, has developed a highly centralized over a period of time. The fall of Dhaka is enough to understand how centralization of power proves to be a dagger in the heart of national integration. Nonetheless, the country has not learned its lesson. Currently, the people of Pakistan are still in disarray and are against each other due to the non-equivalent distribution of resources. For instance, Sindh and Baluchistan blame Punjab for their crumbling state, and Punjab claims the lion’s share because more than half of the country’s population is settled in the region. Hence, in modern Pakistan, people divide themselves based on language, ethnicity, and tribes instead of developing a sense of oneness.
Creating new provinces on an ethnolinguistic basis prompts political exploitation
Besides creating animosity among the masses, the creation of provinces on an ethnolinguistic basis provides an opportunity for politicians to exploit the community for their vested interests. The political leaders demand more divisions in the region to maintain their monopoly. For example, the demand of Saraiki province in southern Punjab has led the leaders of the Hazara community in KPK to manipulate the people of the Hazara community to raise their voice for their separate province, so they can develop their hegemony in the region. Therefore, the making of new provinces on an ethnolinguistic basis provides a platform for the politicians to divide people on ethnic or linguistic basis and make them dance to their tunes.
Threat to crumble the Ideology of Pakistan
Additionally, the creation of new provinces on an ethno-linguistic basis is against the very ideology of Pakistan. Pakistan’s ideology is based on the vision of “One nation, one body.” Therefore, to divide the country on a cultural or linguistic basis is against the creation of Pakistan. As aptly said by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “We are now all Pakistanis, not Balochis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis, and so on. And as Pakistanis, we must feel, behave, and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.” Hence, division can be done on administrative needs rather than an ethnic basis, which would shred the country’s ideology.
How can Pakistan tackle this issue efficiently and sagaciously?
Although clouds of despair currently cover the country, there is always a silver lining in the darkest clouds. Therefore, by taking some efficient and sagacious steps, national integration can be improved; additionally, the administrative demands of the masses can also be fulfilled.
To empower local government structure
First, harmony between people can be amplified by improving local government structure. Local government hears everyone’s grievances at the root level and is responsible for solving them. Moreover, local government representatives belong to one’s area; therefore, everyone considers themselves a part of the country rather than being left alone. Hence, improving local government structure must be the priority to put the debate of separate provinces and improve integration.
To promote diversity and co-existence at national level
Second, diversity must be tolerated and appreciated at local and regional levels to integrate society. To do this, cultural exchange programs at the intra-region level must be started. Moreover, students from different provinces must be given admission to different universities to create an environment of brotherhood and oneness. Festivals of different cultures must be celebrated nationally. Furthermore, tourism in different regions must be encouraged and promoted to build chains of trust among people. Therefore, by promoting one’s culture nationally, national integration can be enhanced, and the demand for separation can be minimized.
To distribute resources equally among all the stakeholders
Third, the distribution of resources among all the provinces is a must to attain national integration. Unequal distribution of resources leads to feelings of discontent and deception. Therefore, equity-based distribution is a must for harmony. Distribution according to the population of a region is a way forward to end the dilemma of new provinces. Hence, the government must treat all provinces equally to create an environment of trust.
To create divisions on an administrative basis
Finally, the creation of provinces on ethnolinguistics creates chaos; however, creation can be done by administrative needs. New divisions or regions can be created to ensure better service for people. Moreover, more grants can be given to deprived areas for their development. It would end the debate of new provinces on an ethnic basis; people would be more united than ever. Therefore, administrative needs must be considered before any division of the country for better management.
Critically, the demand for new provinces is not wrong; however, demand on an ethnic basis is wrong. It creates divisions among people and makes them enemies of one another. Moreover, the division of society on an ethnolinguistic basis muds the image of the country internationally and can lead to civil war, as witnessed in Sri Lanka. People would feel they are not part of the state because they are not treated as nationals. Nonetheless, division on administrative needs must be encouraged to develop all regions in the country. Therefore, the creation of new provinces must not be frowned upon in a country for its betterment.
In a nutshell, the creation of new provinces on an ethnolinguistic basis always weakens national integration. It would lead towards disharmony and hostility among the people of different tribes and languages. Moreover, the emergence of anti-state leaders would be more common, and different groups would start to hamper national unity through different campaigns and ideologies. However, all is not lost if the government would take some sagacious and efficient steps. Improving local government structure, promoting diversity, and properly distributing resources are necessary to make Pakistan peaceful and prosperous. Hence, the creation of new provinces on administrative needs must not be frowned upon; however, creation on an ethnic basis must be discouraged for the country’s enrichment.
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