Saturday, July 4, 2009

Break Down of Elite Consensus in Pakistan!!! Why Not More Provinces ????

We are witnessing an interesting debate on the creation of more manageable administrative cum political divisions in Pakistan. The intriguing aspect to me is that it is not pushed by masses rather elites are debating.

To many it does make sense if newer, smaller and more manageable divisions are carved out of bigger provinces, this may help in addressing the question of sense of deprivation in the people. This would ensure de-centralization of power, distribution of wealth. This would further mean, sense of contentment in deprived group and may feel that their political and social rights are addressed.

The question of Seraiki province, mainly the Bahawalpur as province has initiated a new debate, on the one hand people are of the opinion that this would open a Pandora box and present situation does not allow Pakistan to get into all, on the other hand opinion suggests that it is the right time to address the grievances of deprived people so that country’s stability could be ensured.

Both the opinions have merits and de-merits. If one looks at the political elites, both PPP and PML N would be looking at debate from the perspective of their own narrow interests. But gravity of situation suggests that people focused approach is need of the hour and it is high time to address structural exploitation of people.

If stability of Pakistan is the only objective, then why not listen to the new ideas if those could be helpful in addressing the people’s problems.

Dr Aisha’s ‘the author of the book Military Inc’ makes an interesting point “The entire debate is interesting because it indicates the weakening of elite consensus in Punjab, a province which is considered critical to Pakistan and its power politics. It must also be mentioned that the subcontinent has taken a newer shape every time elite consensus broke down. Starting from the independence of India and Pakistan to the breakup of Pakistan in 1971, this will probably be the third time in our history that the breakdown of consensus might give a new shape to the political division of territory. Of course, this time it will be done in a more decent manner, which is to be expected since there is no grass-roots demand for a new province”.

Everyone wonders what present break down of elite consensus would bring???? for the country and people !!!

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