United States of Punjab?

Published: January 2, 2016


Shahbaz Sharif. PHOTO: TARIQ HASAN/EXPRESS The writer is Executive Director News, Express News. He tweets @fahdhusain 

Big brother is winning. Should we be concerned?

There’s something happening in the province of Punjab that is not happening elsewhere: serious work. But some people fear the galloping disparity between the largest province and the others will feed into the feeling of alienation — for all the wrong reasons.

As 2016 dawns upon us, there is no doubt that Punjab is years (perhaps even decades) ahead of other provinces in overall development. Say what you may but Shahbaz Sharif has taken his province into a different league. Lahore is arguably the most developed city in Pakistan, and the gap continues to widen.

Karachi popular, Lahore and Islamabad fail to match

Yes there’s the usual (and justified criticism) about infrastructure trumping human development priorities in Punjab, but let’s hold that thought for a bit and look at what’s unfolding in Punjab at breakneck speed.

“As I drove from Karachi to Lahore,” says a Karachiite, “and crossed over into Punjab after Sukkur, it seemed to me like I had entered another country.” The gentleman narrating his impression anything but a political partisan: “The roads suddenly became better, traffic got more organised and even the surroundings seemed better.”

Slight exaggeration? Perhaps. But not by much. Compared to Lahore, Karachi is an urban decay. Potholed roads, cratered highways, unkempt sidewalks, dusty environs, garbage-strewn streets, clogged drains and a free-for-all traffic mayhem made worse by ineffectual policing.

And then the slight matter of street crime and law and order. And fear. And insecurity. Yes, it’s better now since the Rangers took charge, but that’s despite the government, not because of it.

The interior of Sindh? Balochistan? Even Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) despite some impressive reforms by the PTI government? Not a patch on Punjab (and especially the central and northern regions).

10 reasons why we love Karachi

Work is getting done. That’s what is happening in Punjab. From impressive infrastructure development to public transport systems, modern traffic management and even model-pushcarts that will have a standardised format and hygiene-checked food — all this and much more is being pushed through by the provincial government with an eye on 2018. Then there’s the clean drinking water project, as well as the Punjab IT board that is integrating technology into the arteries of the government with interesting results. There is a rush to get things done.

Bricks and mortar do define progress in Punjab. This is a progress no other province can match. But bricks and mortar do not a future make.

The Sharifs’ obsession with highways, bridges and flyovers could end up being their weakness. Till very recently, their defenders would shrug off this criticism and parrot lines about economy and foreign investment. But something changed a few months back.

In the Centre and in Punjab, there appears to be a deliberate emphasis on promoting and projecting efforts aimed at the social sectors. The prime minister is now often heard talking about the importance of education, and recently inaugurated new educational projects in the federal capital. Earlier this week, he also launched the National Health Programme, which aims at providing affordable health care to underprivileged citizens. His younger brother, meanwhile, is aggressively pursuing education and health projects and pushing for reform in these sectors.

Why this new-found focus on the social sector? Could it be the need to change the perception that the brothers only care about big, visible projects? Could it be the pressure from Imran Khan who has always prioritised social progress over bricks and mortar? Could it be a genuine desire to fix the broken health and education sectors? Or perhaps, just perhaps, they have realised that in the long run what really matters is how educated, empowered and skilled the citizens of a country are.

Why Lahore is better than Karachi today

In any case, the transformation in thinking — or perceived thinking — was long overdue. In Punjab now, massive amounts of money is being pumped into these sectors. Given the inefficiencies built into the system, there will be much financial leakage, and many impressive projects will never see the light of day beyond the files — yet there is relentless pressure on the government machinery to deliver results. Donor funds are flowing in, along with consultants, experts and advisers.

At a recent meeting, the Punjab chief minister was informed that 110,000 teachers need to be hired till 2018, which means hiring 37,000 teachers every year to meet the shortage. In addition, there currently exists a shortage of 60,000 classrooms in the province, and the construction is being funded by donors. Student retention is a major problem in Punjab (and elsewhere too) even though official figures claim that student attendance and teacher presence have improved marginally over the last year.

Ask over-eager bureaucrats in Lahore about progress in these areas and they will whip out their multi-coloured presentations. It is their job to paint rosy pictures and make their boss happy. There is much in these numbers, graphs and charts that does not bear resemblance to reality on the ground. The quality of education being taught to children in government schools is pathetic by acceptable standards. The Sharifs may have finally come around to focusing on the social sectors, but they left it really late.

But here’s the key: Punjab means business. A donor agency high-up says he has worked extensively with both the Punjab and K-P governments on education, and he feels both governments genuinely want to improve the status of education in their respective provinces. “The difference is the man on top,” he says. “Shahbaz Sharif is the driving force while Pervez Khattak is well-meaning but laidback.” He says the K-P bureaucracy runs circles around their chief minister while in Punjab it’s the other way round.

Why Lahore is the best get away for a Karachiite

Do the Sharifs skew the system in their favour? Absolutely. Does it help that one brother is the prime minister? Sure does. Do the beneficiaries of progress in Punjab care about this? Probably not.

But one thing is clear: at this rate, the progress gap between Punjab and the rest of the country will keep increasing till it may become dangerous. Dangerous? Well, that’s how some people see it. They fear a highly developed Punjab will cast dark shadows over the federation. The gap would allow incompetent politicians in other provinces to cry foul, and accuse Punjab of appropriating a disproportionate level of resources at the expense of others.

Nothing could be more unfortunate. Punjab may have taken some undue advantages but Sindh and Balochistan suffer because of the acute incompetence of their rulers. K-P has done better, yet Punjab is not to blame for most of its woes. But sadly, perceptions often trump reality, and it may yet turn out that solid progress in Punjab may in the end be held against it.

How the Brothers Sharif tackle this perceived sense of deprivation will say a lot about their political skills — and their prospects in 2018.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (89)

  • Arabian Sea
    Jan 2, 2016 - 11:57PM

    One does not grudge the development in Punjab but one can certainly grudge the fact that the Punjab dominated establishment has through its machinations brought Karachi to what it is right now. The establishment was dead right to pursue the security related steps in Karachi but this step was aimed primarily for the geography of Karachi. If it was interested in revitalising the soul of Karachi as well, it would have manoeuvred to have Karachi full civic government as well with full metropolitan governments. Can one even doubt for a moment that if Karachi had a representative civic government at its helm for the last 7 years, could it be facing the urban decay that is highlighted in this article. Hence, however grudging it may sound, Lahore is galloping ahead not on a level playing field.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:06AM

    All the more reason to divide Pakistan into more administrative units or provinces, otherwise all development will be a game of “I’ll only work for the winning side” based on outdated electoral politics. Karachi alone houses 10% of the entire country’s population and yet we’re run by a barely existing provincial govt.Recommend

  • jojo
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:12AM

    It definitely helps when you have one brother as PM and one as CM, also in Baluchistan PML N is in government so the development should have been in both the provinces if it is a party based policy, PM of the country do not even bother to extend any help in KPK where the opposition party is in government, have you seen PM taking CM of KPK with him to china and turkey and to other countries to attract investment, PM even announced Metro Bus service for Karachi and termed as a gift from Federal government even though e all know how corrupt the sindh government is which is in power for near to 10 years instead of helping a new government in KPK of PTI.. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:23AM

    Nicely said………and correctly pointed out in the end. In the Punjab, KP and even Baluchistan it is felt that after major surgery the patent has a good chance of walking again…but in Sindh its almost unanimous that the patent is dead and a quick replacement is necessary because the body has started to rot. Recommend

  • Sehar Tauqeer
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:33AM

    Brilliant piece once again from Fahad. I think instead of fearing of any negative output among other fedearting units of Pak,development in Punjab should be used as a bench mark for a health competition.Personally I believe,two more general elections and regular LB Elections, things will be much refined if not 100%. How PPPP is wiped out from political landscape of pak instead of just interior Sindh speaks volume that how people now responsive to corruption,inefficiency and bad governance. Perform or you will be perished either PPPP, PML-N or PTI. Simple ! Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:50AM

    Sharif Brothers are really delivering awesome job specially in Punjab.I must say there is currently a difference of more than two decades between punjab and other provinces.What I understand, People of Punjab are very intelligent and futuristic Abt selecting their ruler.They hav been voted for Sharifs and getting awesome results.Recommend

  • Sami
    Jan 3, 2016 - 2:39AM

    It’s people’s mentality that needs to be changed in order for all provinces to prosper. Punjabis want a successful prosperous Pakistan while other ethnic groups are playing in the hands of foreign intelligence agencies (CIA and RAW). However Punjab’s healthcare is still very poor and needs improvements. Recommend

  • sohaib
    Jan 3, 2016 - 3:37AM

    sindh, balochistan, kpk instead of blaming Punjab for all your woes, ask your corrupt or good for protest only leaders to deliver !Recommend

  • sabi
    Jan 3, 2016 - 4:41AM

    Punjab is the most blessed province in whole of subcontinent in term of natural resources.The only factor that has held the province developing on satisfactory basis had been political instability.Only seven years of political continuity and you are seeing marvellous results.If democracy continues Punjab will be a very different land raising also the adjacent provinces to new levels.Recommend

  • sabi
    Jan 3, 2016 - 4:42AM

    Punjab is the most blessed province in whole of subcontinent in term of natural resources.The only factor that has held the province developing on satisfactory basis had been political instability.Only seven years of political continuity and you are seeing marvellous results.If democracy continues Punjab will be a very different land raising also the adjacent provinces to new levels.Recommend

  • Humza
    Jan 3, 2016 - 7:55AM

    @Arabian Sea: People have seen a decade of Musharraf do nothing for the country and five years of Zardari start to accomplish some institutional groundwork. Why such harsh feelings against a little over two years of Nawaz Sharif when we have had 15 years of rule from Sind? People need to understand what the Sharifs understand. If you work to improve things for citizens, people will vote for you. By no means to they get it right all the time but no one doubts that they are trying. Punjab’s current development reflects this reality. I only hope other provinces also vote for provincial governments based on the ability to deliver on promises.Recommend

  • Sindhi
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:00AM

    We Sindhis want everything without working as hard as the Punjabis. We should learn from an adage, mahnat kar hasad na kar.Recommend

  • Raghu
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:27AM

    It is very simple to understand. Every Major party pays importance to Punjab. May it be PMLN or PPP or PTI. There is a reason behind that. They all know that most National assembly seats exist in Punjab, If you keep punjab people happy, then you can easily win the elections and other provinces can be left at the mercy of God.Recommend

  • Rambio
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:31AM

    You made me laugh. haha….Futuristic leader and that also Nawaz. Why does the Author of this article want to keep aside the horrible condition of Health care, Education and Police in Punjab. PMLN have ruled Punjab province for more than 25 years. And this is what you get. They are making changes to front face of punjab and the back end or base is crumbling down.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:39AM

    It is the mindset which you display in your post that led to the break up of the country in 1971. No lessons learned from that yet ? Those who do not agree with your view should be called foreign agents, discriminated against and terrorized ?Recommend

  • Raisani
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:46AM

    Chotay Mian is not just the CM but he’s the deputy PM of the country. He uses the federal resources as if somebody uses from his own personal account. So the development is inevitable. Baray Mian Sahab thinks Pakistan starts from Raiwind and ends at Lahore. So he doesn’t bother to start some development and infrastructure projects beyond that boundary. Take example of Lahore Islamabad Motorway. That should have been Karachi Lahore or Islamabad Motorway as Karachi is financial backbone and only seaport of country. But just because these both brothers frequently travel from Lahore to Isb and vice versa, they built Motorway on this route decades ago. And now finally they remembered after decades that other cities does exist so they announced Motorway just from Karachi to Hyderabad and too is still on papers.
    So i request both Mian brothers to think for the country and not just for the votes as single province Punjab is big enough to make one brother a Cm and second a Pm and job is well done. Mian Sahab, Pakistan is beyond G. T. road too. Just bother to give us a nazar-e-karam. We will vote for you too though our votes are of no value for u two brothers. Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:48AM

    Please try to look beyond nice roads, street lamps and Metro Buses. Look at the Health level, Education level and Security level. Punjab has the highest rate of rape cases.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:17PM


    No, the problem is that the Punjabi establishment (civil and military) isolates anyone who is not a Punjabi Sunni. This kind of blaming the victims of being ‘foreign agents’ is a very good example of how it’s Punjabis’ mentality that needs work to eliminate this development gap – not the other provinces.Recommend

  • Ray
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:31PM

    It is not punjab ‘s fault that for a good or bad reason shareef brothers are doing a good job in Punjab. However if pti an enemy party can make a difference in KPK then there is no reason why same progress can’t be achieved in Sindh and Karachi.
    However let us be honest and admit that even the brightest and brilliant among Karachi have the victim mentality and hence lack entrepreneurial spirit and can’t even match Sialkot which is educational less developed and has less resources yet people are dare devils and have the attitude that we don’t need govt to do anything else …it is Taiwan of Pakistan….Karachi and Sindh have cancers of corruption, nepotism and ethnicity. Let us admit no matter how bad PPP and MQM are …their fate and competencies have condemned Sindh along with them…As long as ethnic cancer exits in Sindh nothing is good going to happen….Jeavey Jeavey Benair…woh zinda hai….aur jo altaf ka ghadar hai us ko jeenay ka haq nahen….would surely direct you in some kind of development.Recommend

  • Akhtar jamil
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:49PM

    It is really good to hear the facts that Punjab government is doing this and that. But one would wonder, how long PMLN has been in government in one way or the other in pubjab? Moreover, it is obvious that why sharif family is interested in roads and construction. From last few months the Hygiene Queen Aisha mumtas is missing since she raided Sharif’s business. No doubt Pubjab government has invested in roads, but it has never even thought what people need and what they demand. They have done what suits them. YOu did’t mentioned corruption, which is the biggest problem in country and in Pubjab particularly. 1992 documentary of BBC on sharif corruption, extra tax, daily rape cases, police infrastructure ect Recommend

  • Jan 3, 2016 - 12:52PM

    Thanks to the misanthropic and myopic PPP policies, Karachi Shareef is in urban decay and degradation. SalamsRecommend

  • Mirza
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:59PM

    All that is what Karachiites told you??? Or you took it to another level?Recommend

  • Fahad
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:01PM

    Despite investing so much in roads and flyovers, the traffic increasing exponentialy. More people are settling in lahore because they are not having facilities in their hometown. Law and order are deteroiting severly. Nothing has been done to make people more secure. There is severe energy crisis. I dont see any concrete plan to tackle these problems.Recommend

  • rasheed
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:14PM

    If there is any incompetent government anywhere, it came by the will of people of these provinces. Ultimately, the people of each province made the choice and elected their leaders based on their own choice Bhutto, Naya Pakistan, Nationalism or Development.

    If Sindh and KPK likes Bhutto and Imran Khan more than Metros and Infrastructure, then why should we enforce it in their provinces? May be they all are happy with what they are getting now.Recommend

  • Jan 3, 2016 - 1:20PM

    “The gentleman narrating his impression anything but a political partisan”
    Couldn’t you organize it a more better way ?Recommend

  • Fast
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:21PM

    One thing that is to remember it is the incompetency of other provinces govts that are not allowing their peoples to Progress.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:24PM

    Nicely highlighted all the Physical development. After all whole Pakistan budget is being spent on Lahore. Don’t you think thy have their own interests? Thy sell their own Ittifaq Foundry Iron in these projects? where is real work anyway? where is justice in Punjab oh sorry not Punjab I mean Lahore? That rogue police, Rusted requirements in Hospitals. Apparently roads are also considered as achievements in Intellectual circle. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:30PM

    I think PPP has ensured that at least the interior Sindhis keeps voting for them to ensure they keep control over Sindh province and continue to earn billions each year through ‘Whatever means possible. One of the biggest achievement for them is the deterioration of the education system in Sindh. This enables them to continue to play the Sindh and BB card to the illiterate masses of the poor and not have to be anserable for doing nothing for the uplift of the masses.Recommend

  • TQ
    Jan 3, 2016 - 1:50PM

    I don’t know which Punjab you are talking about. Maybe there is another one in US or Saudia the Shariffs built from all the black money the have stolen from the Pakistani people

    But what I do remember are Shariffs telling, they will solve electricity crisis in 6 months. I think I rest my case with thatRecommend

  • Nadeem
    Jan 3, 2016 - 2:28PM

    Make Karachi a separate province with proper local representatives, you will see where Karachi can go.
    But with this situation where Criminals from Interior Sindh are ruling, there is no hope.Recommend

  • abdullah
    Jan 3, 2016 - 2:41PM

    @jojo.After 18th ammendment you have to ask the taliban supporter (pti).our next time vote pmln.Recommend

  • SJ
    Jan 3, 2016 - 2:45PM

    If punjab means lahore, then i agree with writerRecommend

  • Hayat
    Jan 3, 2016 - 2:55PM

    wonder why don’t people migrates to most develop region & prefer to live in decayRecommend

  • Gulg
    Jan 3, 2016 - 3:25PM

    Being a majority province, Punjab has always dominant/Veto role in decision making, name it Military/Civil establishment, or Parliamentary/ Dictatorial powers, their roots lie in Punjab, either you must be agree with Punjab Naration on national(punajb) Issue or be ready for Certificate of betrayal,do the Author really thing that the current Federal govt treat all the provinces equally?. Even in this democratic era the other provinces are crying for calling a meeting of CCI to resolve the dispute of power sharing b/w the Federation and Provinces but who care. Recommend

  • A Karachitie
    Jan 3, 2016 - 3:31PM

    What ever Sharif brothers do for Lahore or Punjab, they can not change the mind set of people who are far behind Karachites in terms of a cosmopolitan city people. Lahoris are more on show off business, only think of eating and dressing. Their have narrow vision to the big picture of life. Lahoris are similar to Egyptians, eat, dance and sleep!Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jan 3, 2016 - 3:34PM

    @Arabian Sea Yeah never accept your shortcomings but blame Punjab again. Why not blame yourself and introspect that may be some fundamentals are wrong with you that is hindering your progress. The people of Karachi have a Stockholm syndrome and they do not even know that.

    @jojo You are absolutely wrong. After the 18th amendment every province have enough funds. All the funds are distributed province wide according to the formula of 18th amendment. So do not blame Federal and Punjab government for your own ineffectiveness and inefficiency to utilize funds. So stop blaming Punjab for one. We are not forcing people of KP to take pride in their tribal system and to not progress.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Jan 3, 2016 - 3:42PM

    True Fact and the summary of all: “Punjab may have taken some undue advantages but Sindh and Balochistan suffer because of the acute incompetence of their rulers.”Recommend

  • M. Faizan Farooq Khawaja
    Jan 3, 2016 - 4:05PM

    As I was reading Mr. Fahd’s column there was seldom a moment in which I didn’t smile. Sir I am a resident of Rawalpindi and the city is facing joblessness, hygiene issues and non existent public amenities. Unfortunately for many writers based in Lahore, Lahore is Punjab. The recent electoral successes in Lodhran of the PTI indicate that Sharifs may pacify the hunger of Lahore but the rest of Punjab shall give a cold shoulder to them in the next election. Also according to the NFC award Punjab gets 60% of the budget. Along with its dominant role in military, journalism and commerce can you honestly begrudge the other provinces for crying foul. This is coming from a Punjabi mind you. Recommend

  • Lahore
    Jan 3, 2016 - 5:31PM

    @Karachiite: Bro, Punjab votes SS and SS loves Punjab, When people of Karachi and Sindh will vote sincere politicians? Recommend

  • Gulg
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:06PM

    @ Mehreen” We are not forcing people of KP to take pride in their tribal system and to not progress”, really ? The tribal are crying since Decades to dissolve the draconian law of FCR, but no one is listening them, as on Military level the strategic depth policy is more important than the Tribals basic rights, and on Civil level, one can imagine the seriousness of the Central Govt with this part of Pakistan, they formed Committee over Mainstreaming FATA, but without any Tribal or Pashtune Leader/Member or any elected MPA/MNA from the tribal Built nor from province.Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:12PM

    @M. Faizan Farooq Khan Also Mr Faizan while claiming to be a Punjabi you forgot to remove Khan as your last name from your comment. Anyway Punjab represents 60 percent population of Punjab. So according to NFC just like any other province they get the share according to their population. So what do you want exactly?. That Punjab will get less NFC despite the higher population.? All the textile exports, wheat productions, the total rice production of Pakistan and sports goods are produced in Punjab. Only Faisalabad alone contributes more than 10 billion US Dollars in exports alone. Sialkot a small city contributes another 1 Billion. Gujranwala alone produces rice of more than 5 billion dollar in worth. Infact according to NFC we are getting less share. Also kindly stop try to divide people of Punjab and this mantre of Lahore vs Punjab is being stroked by Non Punjabis mostly to work on the concept of divide and rule.Recommend

  • curious2
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:16PM

    Leadership makes a difference – whether in business, sports or politics.Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:21PM

    @Arabian Sea: I have met many people from Karachi. Most of them have not met any Punjabi in their life time. But all the time they blame Punjabis for their problems. It is because it is easy to play victim card but blaming oneself is too difficult. Also i would suggest you to visit Lahore someday. The myth that Karachites are more educated will be broken even within a day of visiting Lahore or Pindi. May be our Urdu will be weaker and that is natural as it is not our mother tongue and we have no problem with it, but our we can safely say that our intellect is now better than many other regions of Pakistan. Recommend

  • karachitte
    Jan 3, 2016 - 7:20PM


    I agree, karachittes should vote for rangers, thats the only party sincere to karachi.Recommend

  • Fast
    Jan 3, 2016 - 8:26PM

    @M. Faizan Farooq Khawaja:
    Who misguided you that Punjab has 60% share in NFC punjab has a share of 51.5% and also Punjab has 48% share in army despite it has over 55% share in population. please don’t misguid people.Recommend

  • sohaib
    Jan 3, 2016 - 8:34PM

    @A Karachitie:
    u r RACISTRecommend

  • noor
    Jan 3, 2016 - 8:50PM

    This is all bullshet, the writer just need roads to drive as he is making good money & he don’t care of anything else, on other side I think Punjab is the most poor province and people are unlucky by selecting two guys for 25 years continuously ..

    Police, education, health, racism, water, electricity, etc there are so many issues where I cannot count.

    Roads HahahaahhahhahaRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:07PM

    Let the CPEC to be functional, then we will see the difference. There is a group which is trying its best to derail the development on CPEC. Punjab development will be noting before the CPEC.Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed Khan
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:41PM

    When even Fahad is easily mislead by Sharifs sham sense of development, there is fundamentally wrong with education in Pakistan! They keep masses uneducated and without better health as educated and healthy people will start to think and know how this so called development is at the expense of our future generations, to keep them deprived of real education, health and better future.

    A better road and metro bus may look cool but it will do nothing for a poor person’s life, his family or his children health and better future!Recommend

  • Luqman Hafiz
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:48PM

    In 2004, BJP government was under the impression that they have done it big in India. invented the “India Shining” slogan and announced elections only halfway through their 5-year term. The party splurged around $20m in media to spread “India Shining” concept. The country was really shining with massive FDI, IT boom and outsourcing. But Congress turned the tables on the BJP through effective counter-agitprop and won two successive elections. What the Sharifs are doing is what BJP did, but to their good fortunes, no one is doing what the Congress did in India. Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jan 3, 2016 - 10:02PM

    Historically, Punjab has always been more developed compared to other provinces of the country. In my opinion, this relative prosperity goes down to the canal and irrigation system developed by the British, which has enabled agriculture to flourish here. Subsequent governments have contributed to it. While credit for some mega infrastructure projects should be given to SS administration, it is unfair and gross exaggeration to claim development in Punjab only goes down to administrative genius of SS. Punjab was better off than other provinces even during Pervaiz Elahi era. It is important to keep things in perspective. Recommend

  • Inaam
    Jan 3, 2016 - 10:20PM

    Credit goes to MQM for their non existence in Punjab. Simply putting. Recommend

  • Lahore Lahore ae
    Jan 3, 2016 - 10:34PM

    @A Karachitie:
    Lahore produced 4 Nobel laureates, how many from Karachi? Yes Lahoris love to go out for eating and dress well. Thank youRecommend

  • Hussain
    Jan 3, 2016 - 10:52PM

    If bridges,roads and flyover is devolopment then Let’s stop spending budgets on education and health.I never heard of sucides in Punjab.I admit Lahor second name is Paris but it should be named Vince after rain.Ghustakhi maaf mere AaqaRecommend

  • Rishabh Jain
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:35PM

    A ruler cannot make so much change. In India, the opposite is happening. The big cities are decaying and the small places are developing into much better living spaces.Recommend

  • Umair
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:49PM

    Fahd Hussain, someday take some time , visit mianwali and bhakar, you will no everything about what is happening in punjab, its a researchless article with least facts, i wont go as far as saying its a paid job but you make it absolutely obvious.Recommend

  • SilverT
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:51PM

    correct …… if Punjab = Lahore. Otherwise ….huhRecommend

  • Xnain
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:54PM

    Education level of Punjab is so good that if pure merit prevails, candidates from Punjab and Karachi would clean sweep all the jobs in the country. The employment for other provinces is a blessing of Federal Quota.Recommend

  • Munir Khan
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:21AM

    Excellent analysis Recommend

  • Fsm
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:26AM

    If ppp cant manage karachi or sindh except
    Corruption n loot then dont blame other. Recommend

  • Sarmad
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:48AM

    Hello all,

    After listen about lahore lahore ha lots of time . personally visit lahore but there is not such uniqueness , therefore author has to research first from the market.

  • Kal
    Jan 4, 2016 - 2:14AM

    Mr Fahad if Punjab is so ahead then how comes pildat reports otherwise?
    KPK leads in terms of governance…also are u really telling me Police and patwaris are better in Punjab than KPK??Recommend

  • brar
    Jan 4, 2016 - 6:35AM

    @Sami: So you want to convey that except Panjabis all other Pakistanis are traitors before saying such things remember 1971 at that time you painted all Bengalis Indian agents though many of them are being hanged even after 42 years for their loyalties for Pakistan.Recommend

  • liaqat ali
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:19AM

    @Arabian Sea: Dont ignore the fact that except for the last 2 and half years it was Sindh who was running the federal Govt . First all powerful Musharraf with army at its back and then PPP with Zardari running it While Musharraf friends were overlooking . For 9 full years MQM was running the show from behind the scene. So dont blame Punjab for your woes., although it is fashionable to do so. So lets ekk facts and then try to remedy the situation . May be MQM needs to be more productive and stop creating hate but focus more on real development . Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:19AM

    Absolutely/100% correct Sir.Recommend

  • khan
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:21AM

    Mr. Fahad Lahore is not entire Punjab.Please visit South Punjab Districts (Muzzafargarh, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Rahim yar Khan, Mianwali and DG Khan) and Potohar areas (Chakwal, Jhelum and Attock) you will get to know where is Punjab heading in terms of development and governance. If you can’t go there just visit Shahdara. For your kind information all the development works are being done in Lahore city only. Or may be I am blinded by the brilliant development work in Punjab so please enlighten us about the performance of Punjab Police, Patwaris, Health and Education sectors. Recommend

  • Javeria
    Jan 4, 2016 - 12:13PM


    Lol! do you live on earth? FED Govt. offered KPK Metro Bus Mass Transit but they refused… PTI oppose everything government do whether it is good or not… Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 12:21PM

    Nice work by CM Punjab, Masha Allah. But PM is the person who take care of the Whole Pakistan. if this happen continuously it may lead to civil disturbance to other part of the Pakistan. Keeping things in mind ” God will ask to the caretaker about all people”.Recommend

  • Imran Malik
    Jan 4, 2016 - 12:27PM

    Shahbaz Shrif should stop delivering then everyone will be leveled and happy.Recommend

  • Ramshah
    Jan 4, 2016 - 1:03PM

    At the end of the day only a country whose population is well educated and hardworking will develop and move forward. What about a time when there is no Shahbaz Sharif? These structural entities require a great amount of maintenance and a person without a vision will not be able to do such. It is important that instead of investing these monies in infrastructure these should instead be invested in creating schools, hiring qualified teachers, better management in hospitals and creating new ways for generating electricity. These are the things that will take Pakistan towards a better and more secure future otherwise it will plummet.Recommend

  • Shahrukh jatoi
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:04PM

    Sharif brother policies are wrong they are ruler of Pakistan but deliver for only punjab its better for them to left PM seat and join the CM ship (for bare mian shb.) & mayor lahore (for chote mian shb.)Recommend

  • Fawad
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:34PM

    Fahad: I am surprised that in the article all the discussion about Punjab being on the road to development is focused solely on major cities of Punjab. How about development in the southern belt? How about places like Bhakkar? Please enlighten us of the development work in Southern Punjab. Only then we can conclude that Sharif brothers are sincerely working towards uplifting the whole of Punjab and not their constituencies only. Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 4:35PM

    Today’s we need United state of Pakistan rather than United states of Punjab. Recommend

  • malik59
    Jan 4, 2016 - 7:42PM

    Corruption is every where , thats undeniable …

    if Punjab and Say Sindh are given Rs 10 each …

    7 Rs from Punjab’s kitty end up in someone else’s pocket [ corruption ]…but the remaining 3 Rs ARE spent somewhere productive..

    ..and for example Sindh , 13 Rs will end up in someone else’s pocket [ corruption ] and he will blame that Punjab has eaten up his 3 Rs…

    thats how thing work here… Recommend

  • bilal
    Jan 4, 2016 - 7:45PM

    While the writer appreciated Punjab, he also admits KPK has improved.
    Despite being a pro PMLN article – it admits KPK has shown that it has done better in its 2 years compared to the remaining provincesRecommend

  • Whatacountry
    Jan 4, 2016 - 8:35PM

    Sharif brothers have one ingenuity ingrained and that is hiring people for a purpose. Take the Police first. Around 15 to 20 thousand bad characters were inducted and housed in their first term. They have served them till today. Then the ingenuity to introduce scams in the form of schemes e g Qarz Utaro Mulk Sawaro, Yellow cab, Sasti Roti. Total coverup of awarding contracts for underpasses,overheads,Metros and roads. Who are the suppliers of material and who made how much.Were SOPs followed? No one knows any detail. Now they have hired media persons and houses. They have a ministry which does all the publicity work ensuring display of three faces on all posters and hoardings. Nawaz Sharif Shabaz Sharif and Hamza Sharif in the middle.All at yours and my expense. Nobody questions this highway daylight robbery.From law and order angle Lahore is a close second to Karachi and interior Punjab is not far behind Sindh. The only difference is the hiring and cover ups. Fahd seems to be the new recruit but is learning fast.This is one way of getting attention!!!Recommend

  • Mehboob
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:24PM

    How much megawatt power is in punjab to run the industries? None. What about its mineral resources, how much has it suffered because of the business of war? Where does come the natural gas that punjab is using?. For God sake give the constitional, political , and economic rights to the so called Little Brothers and dont create environment where “Snatching” will be justified. By the way Little Brother have same rights as bigger one.Recommend

  • Maria
    Jan 5, 2016 - 4:06AM

    @M. Faizan Farooq Khawaja: How can you possibly live in Rawalpindi and not notice the improvements there? I know for a fact that our gardener along with many common workers are very happy with the Metrobus connecting Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The roads are getting a repair and the cardiac hospital is helping many people. It’s sad to see that your focus seems to be PTI vs PML N. Why not think about the country for a change? I welcome good work by PTI in KPK but I also welcome good work by PML N in Punjab. As for what the current Federal government is starting via CPEC, Lahore- Karachi Motorway, Gwadar and energy projects, it will help the whole country.Recommend

  • World is a stage
    Jan 5, 2016 - 4:37AM

    The World is a stage. The best actors get the best role. Let Sindh, and other smaller provinces show their acumen, let them struggle to really improve and they can catch up with Punjab. Best wishes for all.Recommend

  • S
    Jan 5, 2016 - 5:00PM

    Punjab is not denying constitutional, economic or political rights to other provinces. If Punjab takes gas and electricity then it gives much more to the country. You are completely missing the point. The writer is insisting other provinces to catch up rather than trying to bring it down. Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 5, 2016 - 5:48PM

    @khan: Mr Khan do you know Chakwal, Jhelum and Attock that you mentioned as least developed have the highest literacy rate in the country.? Recommend

  • Tony
    Jan 5, 2016 - 11:00PM

    @Akhtar jamil:
    Stop spreading lies. Ayesha Mumtaz has herself denied such rumours and continues to raid eateries on daily basis. It is the court verdict that holds them back from publishing the details of eateries. Punjab is progressing because Sharif s put people first and now how to deliver.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Jan 5, 2016 - 11:39PM

    @khan: I think Southern Punjab areas are still better than most of Sind, KPK or Baluchistan for one reason: Shahbaz Sharif is still developing and improving underdeveloped regions of Punjab more than the CMs of other provinces do for even their developed areas! Compare the cities like Bawalpur to other cities in other provinces and South Punjab cities are still better managed and governed.Recommend

  • Abbassin
    Jan 6, 2016 - 4:02AM

    @ Ray-You are the only commentator here who has done some research and soul searching and has rightly pin pointed the actual problems behind the lack of development in Sindh. As human beings we always find easy ways to find fault with others and not look into our own “Grehban” and we the Pakistanis in particular have been well tutored in the art of blame game and conspiracy theories. It is amazing how our friends from Sindh conveniently forget that they have had representative governments for a very long time now, but the nexus of PPP & MQM, has not delivered and yet they keep voting them-in election after election. The people must also remember that after passage of the 18th amendment, the solution to their problems related to shortage of electricity, water, decayed infrastructure, strikes and shutdowns, completely broken down law and order, and the shame of Tharparkar, lies within the policies and practices carried out by their elected local and provincial politicians-hence for solutions they must look at them and not only at Islamabad. With a barely existing current provincial government as one commentator put it, the people of Sindh in the next general elections must vote for parties, who will promise to make Sindh a better place-which it deserves so badly. Recommend

  • Mr.Khan
    Jan 6, 2016 - 2:27PM

    Baluchistan, Sindh , FATA,K-P-K and GB are lagging behind Punjab because, they have no PMs. Nawaz sharif is PM to only one Punjab, and focusing only on Punjab. The Failure of other 4 provinces is actually the failure of Mian Nawaz shareef..,,a punjabi PM. He is bulldozing the FATA and other provinces and building punjab only,,,, so what you see (which you may call a development) is logical.Recommend

  • Syed Minhaj Uddin
    Jan 8, 2016 - 3:23PM

    May be dividing the Pakistan in 12-15 province can increase intra-province competition which may result in development of Pakistan and as well as the first most need to end up ethnic divide is to end up this unjustified quota system ASAPRecommend

  • M.Faizan Farooq Khawaja
    Jan 8, 2016 - 11:35PM


    My dear sister I am a Rajput and for your kind information Rajputs write Khan with their names. Secondly Karachi industry contribution to the economy is 65% should we allocate 65% budget to it as per your formula? This attitude resulted in Bangladesh. Would you be kind enough to state that what are Punjabs own natural resources. It takes gas from Baluchistan water from Kashmir and coal will be from sindh in the future. We have to make sure that every province and city is treated equally. If not then only Lahore will be left and that too without electricity or gas. Rawalpindi ney kia gunah kia thatwe are facing joblessness. Look at the conditions of raja bazaar and meena bazaar. Is it our fault we are not in the hallowed ground of Takht e Lahore. Recommend

  • Knight Khan
    Mar 1, 2016 - 1:19PM

    @Mehreen If you keep the resource segregation on population basis then why before Bangladesh War of 1971, the resource allocation was on equality basis ? Why make one unit to share the blame ? Due to your such inequity, Bangladesh chose to break away, under charismatic leadership of staunch Pakistani turned Bengali nationalist Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman but still don’t repent on your sins rather criticize them after they have endured all your prejudices. Bangladesh is progressing day by day by employing secular & equity based social & economical reforms, despite being warned by colonial Pak Govt led clergy back in 1960’s that if you broke away God’s curse will be upon you. Ironically despite being following semi Sharia we are on the back gear. Why because of lack of justice on every level & stereotyping of non-Punjabi races. Also if by your biased observation, the 18th amendment, for which still the Establishment is mourning on red hot coke, is fully enforced, then why on the earth is the rest of the country complaining of not been given their due share ? What about the royalties of provinces ? You even cannot accept the development of Southern & Western Punjab, which will get the majority profit from CPEC, by diverting it from Lahore, what good will you think of rest of the country. And by the way lady, despite your discrimination & sarcasm which speaks your typical mindset, the same what you have for IK too, have your facts corrected “Khan” is Tartar surname & also it is an honorific title granted by the Mughals as well as British to many Rajputs. It has no symbolic significance with Pashtuns particularly. Recommend

  • Knight Khan
    Mar 1, 2016 - 1:26PM

    @ Malik Saab Intellect is 180 to degree of impoverishment. The most modest areas in the world has produced the most brilliant philosophers, Arabia for an example. And by intellect if you mean Allama Iqbal, then let me tell you, if by promoting Iqbal & other Punjabi poets in lime light & ignoring the rest, you justify your claim, then I am speechless. Recommend

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