New federating units: PML-N wants 13 provinces

Published: August 8, 2011
Plan ignores Hazara province, relies on boundaries of divisions circa 1973. PHOTO: PPI/FILE

Plan ignores Hazara province, relies on boundaries of divisions circa 1973. PHOTO: PPI/FILE


The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is expected to support increasing the number of provinces in the country from four to thirteen, an announcement likely to be made by party president Nawaz Sharif on Monday (today) at a meeting of a committee formed to deliberate on the matter.

Sources within the committee told The Express Tribune that the PML-N supported the idea of splitting Punjab into five provinces, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa into three and Balochistan into two federating units. The number 13 comes from the number of divisions – a sub-provincial level of government that was made defunct in 2000 – which existed just prior to the adoption of the 1973 constitution.

At independence, West Pakistan had six divisions, a number that gradually went up to 13 and kept rising as the population continued to grow. Currently, there are 27 divisions in Pakistan.

The provinces would be as follows: Punjab would split into Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Bahawalpur. Sindh would be split into Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur. Balochistan would be divided into Quetta and Kalat and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be divided into Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Malakand.

The PML-N, however, seems to ignore Gilgit-Baltistan, which was recognised as an agency in the 1973 constitution but seems to have been granted quasi-provincial status by the current administration.

The process of creating new provinces, meanwhile, appears to have been made more complicated by the 8th Amendment to the constitution, which was passed in 1985. Before then, all that was required to create a new province was a parliamentary resolution.

Now, the process requires a constitutional amendment – meaning two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament – and a resolution with a two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly whose territory is affected by the creation of the new province.

On Saturday, PML-N leader Javed Hashmi had said that he supported dividing Punjab into four provinces and the rest of Pakistan into another 12 provinces.

On Sunday, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif restated his party’s new policy favouring new provinces but opposing creating them along ethnic or linguistic lines.

“If Punjab is going to be divided, then other provinces should also be divided,” said the chief minister.

Yet the plans being put forward by the party are unlikely to win support even from some constituencies that have traditionally supported the party. For instance, the plan seems to ignore the demand for a Hazara province. The Hazara division was created in 1976, after the adoption of the 1973 constitution, and thus would be split between the Malakand and the Peshawar provinces if the PML-N proposal were to be adopted.

Meanwhile, legislators from the Hazara division in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly failed to garner any support for a separate province. The Hindko-speaking people of the region have been demanding a separate province ever since the ethnically neutral Northwest Frontier Province was renamed to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2010.

MPAs from the Hazara division told the Daily Express that they were told by their legislative colleagues that supporting the Hazara province was against party policy of virtually all of the major parties in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

The Hazara division legislators had been trying to gather support for a resolution in favour of the province, similar to the one being proposed in the Punjab Assembly for a South Punjab province by members of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q).

The resolutions in the provincial assembly, however, appear to lack constitutional standing, according to the secretary of the Punjab Assembly, who said last week that the matter must first be debated in the federal legislature.

Members of the PPP, however, have denounced this as an unnecessary complication of  what they describe as a simple matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:04AM

    I think it is a very positive policy framework from PML N. Atlast we are now working toward issue based politics!


  • Frank
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:12AM

    This is actually quite a good idea. At least it is a lot better than creating provinces on the basis of brand new artificial linguistic identities like ‘Siraiki’.


  • Manzoor Ahmad
    Aug 8, 2011 - 11:58AM

    Punjab should be split into two provinces. Southern punjab as a second province call it Bahawalpur or Seraiki province. Hazara belt should be a seperarte province consisting of six disrtricts of Abbotabad, Haripur,Mansehra, Batagram, Kohistan and Tor ghar [kala Dhaka]. Sindh has already two distinct ethnicities and can be boldly divided into two admnistrative units by forming a new province from Karachi and Hyderabad. Balochistan should also be divided into Baloch and Pashtun areas as two provincial units. The seven Fata agencies should be made a half province like Gilgit-Baltistan and both should be given limited or provisional representation in National Assembly. Thus we can have Ten administrative units or provinces with ten Chief Ministers and Governers i-e eight proper povinces and two half provinces.


  • Aug 8, 2011 - 12:01PM

    This is a good idea. Details can be discussed at Assembly to devise a plan.


  • Aug 8, 2011 - 12:12PM

    Excellent recommendations, though touching Karachi and Hyderabad is difficult keeping the interests of Sindhi Nationalist and PPP in mind


  • nasrullah
    Aug 8, 2011 - 12:17PM

    @Frank, just wait for the time these saraiki will tell you what is what is your actual position in the politics and you will know very clearly what is left behind in the hands of Punjabi Orthodox


  • Khushdil Khan
    Aug 8, 2011 - 12:50PM

    @Manzoor Ahmad:
    Hazara province may be a dream of Punjabis and Hindustani Janta of Pakistan, but it is not the demand of all the people of Hazara. All Pakhtuns living in the area opposes it which include people of Mansehra, Kala Dhaka, Kohistan, Batagram. It is the Hindko speaking people of Abbotabad and Haripur who are making such demand at the behest of Punjabis of Muslim Leaque and Hindustani janta of MQM.
    Last word — OVER our dead Bodies. It has to be over a river of Pakhtun Blood. Come and do it. I dare you!!!.


  • mian
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:21PM

    Way better and logical approach on behalf of PML-N . PPP is just throwing stones in waters of politics to attract narrow minded linguistic communities to get more votes. this is not good in the long term for the country. but typical PPP approach. I am from southern punjab and dont speak siraiki. why some geo-administrative unit should be formed on the bases of language????it is a low level approach and should be discouraged.Divisions should be made on administrative bases, not on base of language dialects.Recommend

  • Ammad Hafeez
    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:15PM

    It’s a good Idea :)


  • Mubashir Zaidi
    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:20PM

    A Southern Punjab Issue, Hazara Voilance and Other Voices For A Separate Province…Why We Are Not Going For More Provinces i.e. 20-22 Provinces Of Pakistan Or Divisional Government System (20-22 Divisions Instead Of Provinces) like City District Government System with More Powers and Governors????. The success Of Karachi City Government And Mustafa Kamal Is An Example. We Need It For Better Financial Management and spending. If New Provinces Are Not Possible Bqz Of Ethnic Differences, Then We Have To Go For Divisional Governments (More Power Full Than Present City District Governments) With A Governor and Assembly In Each Division And we Have To Use Them As Provincial Governments And Remove Present Four Provinces Which Are On Ethnic Basis.

    If We Require Prosperity Of The Peoples Of All Parts Then We Have To Prepare More Provinces Or Have To Go For Divisional Governments Instead Of Provinces. Present System Is Not Satisfactory For Some Parts Like “Southern Punjab’, Hazara’ Gilgit etc.. They Are Not Getting Their True Share And Most Of Budget Is Being Spent On ‘Big Cities Or “Urban Areas Of The Country’.

    This is the time to decide we require provincial form of government or divisional form of government to strengthen grass root level of politics….By Making 20-22 Divisional governments and giving them status of state like ‘Islamic states of pakistan’ (ISP) and by giving name to them i.e. Jinah State, Iqbal State, Khushhaal Khan Khattak State, Bahauddin Zakria State, Shah Bhitai State, Instead Of Present Ethnic Names etc…. !!


    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:25PM

    being a pakistani. i would say it is very difficult to form the new provinces,,, why???
    i would tell you how. see there are two major parties in pakistan. ppp and pmln. pmln wants that if punjab divides then all other provinces should be divided, on the other hand ppp does not want like that it is firmed that punjab should be divided into two or three provinces central punjab, south punjab and bahawalpur will be declared as a separate province

    if you see the 8th amendment of the constn 1973 it is too difficult to make the provinces because pmln would be the biggest barrier in front of ppp .

    2/3= 66% of votes of national assembly and provincial assembly are required for the making the new provinces. kuch naheen hone wala. dekh lena.

    agar pakistan is system par chal pada phir dekh lena pakistan ke 4 naheen takreeban 100 subay hojaenge har district k log bolenge hamen apna sooba bana kar do qk ham majority hain.

    according to me:

    AYAZ BUKHARIRecommend

  • Usman
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:37PM

    @Khushdil Khan:
    Wah Khushdil Wah ,Man Study Islam You need only 6 feet grave while leaving this world!
    Insaan Auqat m nahi rahta ,ALLAH Nay kaya makhlooq banai ha ,Ak Insaan ka katal ,Insaniyat ka katal ha ,kuch Sudher jao bahi!


  • Asif Saeed
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:40PM

    How long will you continue to divide Punjab? First United Punjab was divided into East and West Punjab in 1947. Later, in India, East Punjab was further divided into Punjab, Haryana, Himachel Pardesh, Chandigarh and Delhi. What does it matter? People dont get it. Punjab is Pakistan!!!


  • Khalid Naeem
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:47PM

    Pakistan should be divided into at least 25 States ON ADMINISTRATIVE GROUNDS. Old Divisions can be declared a State. Each State to have an Assembly, Elected Governor, University, State Court(High Court), Industrial area. Further subdivisions should be at Tehsil Level(can be called Counties) and Districts should be ababdoned(this will save huge administrative bill. For exampple Lahore Division should be Lahore State with all the Tehsils of Lahore, Shekhopura, Okara & Kasur. New name of Pakistan could be just Pakistan or United States of Pakistan.
    Seats of National Assembly to be reduced to 100 ( about 4-5/State). Senate should be abolished. Only 15 Ministeries to be kept at Federal level. Only non-elected technical experts can be Ministers. No reserved Seats. Democratic Parties holding internal elections every 5 years on fixed dates (NOT SELECTIONS) be allowed to run for elections.
    Supreme Court Judges to be reduced to 9 and for Lifelong.


  • Khalid Naeem
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Pakistan should be divided into at least 25 States. Old Divisions can be declared a State. Each State to have an Assembly, Elected Governor, University, State Court(High Court), Industrial area. Further subdivisions should be at Tehsil Level(can be called Counties) and Districts should be ababdoned(this will save huge administrative bill. For exampple Lahore Division should be Lahore State with all the Tehsils of Lahore, Shekhopura, Okara & Kasur. New name of Pakistan could be just Pakistan or United States of Pakistan.


  • MKhan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 1:25AM

    @Khushdil Khan:
    I would like to take this opportunity and invite you to 21th century.


  • hx
    Aug 9, 2011 - 2:56AM

    how eagerly people are taking part in dividing pakistan and proposing 13-100 provinces..=/
    just for political gains the whole nation is lined up for division…there should be provinces but jumping so suddenly from 4 to 13? and according to some people 4 to 100?
    we are not playing “province province game”…be realistic!
    and division for punjab only…?is bad goverance in punjab only…sindh balochistan KPK going very well?? last tym i heard that punjab is the most prosperous province of pakistan…
    rather than this stupid division just pay attention on solving public’s problems…
    i must say ..this government is heading so fast towards division of punjab…but it failed to provide rooti kapra makan bijli pani in 3.5 yrs..! what guarantee there is that good goverance can come after playing “province province game”Recommend

  • Rashid Khan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 4:06AM

    You lot have again been taken for a ride by PML (N). Can’t you see through the whole manoeuvre, Nawaz Sharif has dug up the pitch after realising the decision is going against his interest? He has correctly assessed the strength of the call South Punjab to be declared a separate province though he abhors the idea there is little he can do to oppose it. On the contrary any attempt to resist this movement will have a negative impact on his standing while at the other end of the continuum the PPP which is presently in favour of the new province stands to gain.
    So what does PML (N) come up with to whittle down this snowballing popular demand? It (or he) thinks up the idea of 13 new provinces which, even he with his limited thinking can understand, is impractical and serves no purpose other than to create confusion and detract the issue. It will never materialise.
    The PML (N) idea can only lead to self destruction. Can’t the PML (N) use its think tanks for a change and make it a policy that its leadership only issue statements that have been approved by the party. Left on his own their leader is comparable to a monkey with a razor. Or even a spoilt brat who ensures that if he/ she can’t have it no one else can.


  • Asmat Jamal
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:22PM

    The failed political leadership of Pakistan is not coming out of gimmicks. Since day one, the inept political leadership of Pakistan in combination with all time disreputable and corrupt bureaucracy has destroyed this beautiful country, which though created by the blessings of Allah but eaten savagely by its fire ants(Clerics) pests (Politicians) and termites (Bureaucracy).
    On a more serious note, like the “Jaghirs” of the “Jaghirdars” are shrinking after every new generation, the same is being applied for the umpteen number of new Provinces also. The proposed arrangements will have the following effects.
    1. The power which had shifted to the provinces will become weak due to insignificant size of the provinces and once again Punjabi and Mohajir Bureaucracy will emerge strongly. This will be the reenactment of one unit of the West Pakistan.
    2. The ruling Political families of Pakistan like there “Jaghirs” are now creating provinces for there kith and kin. Hazara Province for Omer Ayub Khan and Methab abassi., D I Khan for Fazal ur Rehman, Lahore for Nawaz Sharif, DG Khan for Khosa, Karachi for Altaf Bhai, Malakand for the new self proclaimed Wali of Swat, Mr Bomb Proof Amir Maqam. Think of a putrid face and you have a province for him.
    3. Bureaucracy will be multiplied like cancer and all the funds available will be spent on the perks and privileges of the termites. Umpteen number of Chief secretaries, IGs, and score of secretaries.
    People of Pakistan should discard the new provinces and work hard to stabilize what is available. A strong Local Government system is the answer to the ills and not strengthening bureaucracy.


  • man of ideas
    Aug 9, 2011 - 3:17PM

    We should have 31 – one more than India !!!!


  • Faisal
    Aug 10, 2011 - 1:22AM

    year 2025
    Pakistani provinces

    Qabaail as FATA & PATA…..
    Muzafarabad Kashmir
    Ladakh Kashmir
    Srinagar Kashmir
    Abaseen Khyber & Swat
    Kohistan & Taxila
    Vadea Soon ….Khushab, DI Khan, DG Khan, Mianwali, Rajanpur
    Upper Pasban & Lahore
    Cental Pasban….Faisalabad, Jhang, Sahiwal, Multan, Kot Addu
    Lower Pasban……Bahawalpur, Khanpur, Rahimyar K
    Upper Mehran
    Coastal Mehran
    Quetta Balochistan
    Cental Balochistan
    Coastal Balochistan

    roving Capitals….Gawadar, Khushab, Khairpur…..


  • Khalid Naeem
    Aug 10, 2011 - 5:06AM

    I remember spending 17 days in Lahore Secretariat to get posting in Services Hospital Lahore. I have to beg my local politicians, their touts,Additional Deputy Secretary. I was forced to bribe Section Officer and Clerics. There were Doctors from DG Khan, Bahawalpur etc going through same ordeal. I have been in UK for the last 10 yrs and never had to go to London etc. All my issues are addressed in the Hospital, I work. Same goes with every Department. Decentralisatiion is the basic thing to address all the issues. Smaller federal units can help to negate political and beaurocratic control.Pakistan should be divided into 25 States, as I said in earlier post.
    We, overseas Pakistani, are Pakistani only, not Punjabi/Sindhi/Baloch/Pushtoon etc to outside world. Basically, its a struggle between have and havenots, between feudal plus civil/millitary beaurocracy against hari, kisaan, and middle classes. But ruling class diverts it towards ethnic conflict. Elite classes have no ethnic boundries,they intermarry at will.
    Pakistan is an agricultural country and 70% population is associated with it. And there is no agriculture tax. All the Land belonged to State until Mughal Empire and farmers would pay 1/4th of Income to State. Confiscate all the Lands and put under Local Government. No new tax would be needed.
    And Finally, Ban cousin marriage upto seven degree. Apart from the Medical benefits, this would broaden social horizon, break down caste, family, ethnic barriers.


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