State of Governance

The Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaf has emerged as a progressive party in Pakistani politics and its founder President Imran Khan has touched the right chords and made all the right noises on all the vital issues the country is confronted with. There is possibly a single notable exception though. Has anyone wondered that while most of our countrymen were exercising their right to vote, those in some parts of the country weren’t : North Waziristan, because the writ of the government doesn’t extend there; Gilgit-Baltistan, because it doesn’t enjoy any constitutional status and till a few years back did not even have a name; Azad Kashmir, because it is supposed to be an independent entity, in name at least, with its own President and Prime Minister. So what do we see when we look analytically at Pakistan as a state: four provinces, one independent entity( in theory only), a large adjoining area without a proper status, Federally-Administered Tribal Areas(FATA) and even Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas(PATA). Whats more, the national elections of 2013 were the first to be conducted in FATA on a party basis; in all others, the independents getting elected were selling themselves and their constituencies to the highest bidder, which suited everyone admirably. The question we now need to ask ourselves is why after all these years we haven’t been able to integrate all the parts of Pakistan into a common system that grants equal rights and status to all its regions and all its citizens. What is most disturbing about this scheme of things is the silence that envelops it. No party worth its salt talks about such blatant inequalities, not even the morally-driven PTI. The first step towards change and a naya Pakistan is to get the basic governing structure right. Right??

Bottom-line. For a start, all the regions should be woven into the fabric of a single system and be governed by the same rules, regulations and laws. No region should be federally governed, provincially governed, FCR governed, be without constitutional cover or enjoy extra-constitutional cover. As the saying goes, one country, one system. The next step can be to revive the defunct Divisions, with greater powers being gradually devolved to these divisions and districts. Formation of more provinces can then logically follow, the idea being to make the administrative, justice and security mechanisms more responsive and more accessible.

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