Each political party has decided to hop onto the ‘new province’ bandwagon without realising the long-term consequences of this political point scoring. There is no doubt that there is a case for new provinces especially in South Punjab which is an administrative mess. But it must be remembered that stoking ethnic sentiment for short-term political gains will come back to bite the political parties. This kind of politicisation of an issue creates problems that do not go away. Hence, new provinces should be created on an administrative rather than ethnic basis.
Mostly, what people forget is that new provinces will require an entire administrative structure and it can’t be set up without a painstaking and thorough process, meticulous planning and ample funds. How a cash-strapped country will cough up the funds for carving out these new provinces is beyond me.
Too many provinces will Balkanise the country and will make it ungovernable and create inefficiencies. But a well-thought out division could not only address inequalities in development and redress ethnic grievances but also alter our country’s political landscape for the better. A decentralised federation is the future of Pakistan but the government should be careful and vigilant in undertaking the process as haste will only make waste.