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Punjab:Pakistan’s political heartland

Punjab elite Police:Counter-terrorism force or politician protector

The English-medium and Urdu-medium politics of Punjabis

Who owns Lahore’s Bilawal House?

Diminishing Returns: Sufi Shrines in Pakistan’s Politics

"Punjab's dominance is not because Punjabis are chauvinists"

Punjab politicised

The uptightness of Punjabi majoritarianism

Too many Punjabi babus at centre irk Senators

Mengal for changing biased thought process in Punjab

Punjabi betrayal or Sindhi loyality?

How long will Punjab be expected to sacrifice?’

Punjab vs other provinces

Our anti-Punjab clamour

Our anti-Punjab mayhem-II

Half of Punjab left unlisted in census

Son of leading Pakistani politician tied to
secret Caribbean Company

View Point: Shifting sands of Punjab politics

The Other Threat to Pakistan

Scions of political families occupy important
positions in Federation, Punjab

Castes in Punjab

Punjab suffers Rs150b loss


The uptightness of Punjabi majoritarianism

Khaled Ahmed's Tv Review

The Sindhis first struggled against the dominance of Hindus who were in majority in the cities. The muhajirs moved into Sindhi cities to occupy the higher urban status abandoned by the Hindus. The MQM has postponed this "assimilation" for the muhajirs under Pakistan ideology. If the MQM gets a separate province, all the cities of Sindh will fall to the muhajirs.

One big problem with Pakistan has been the majority province of Punjab. It is 62 percent of the country in population and has always been hated by the smaller provinces, triggering separatist movements in them. Usually the big majorities are easy while discussing matters with the minorities, allowing the latter to vent their feelings, secure in the feeling that their majoritarianism will win the day in the end. But the Punjabis in Pakistan are always uptight when confronted with the plaints of the "smaller" provinces. They assert ideology and rely on the device of "treason" to silence what they think is cry-baby nonsense. Any suggestion that Punjab do something realistic to whittle down its size raises hackles, implying that any effort in this direction would break up the country.

ARY DIGITAL (18 September 2002) held a "discussion" on inter-provincial relations with four personalities: Chief editor "Khabrain" Zia Shahid, Tahir Rasheed of PML(N), Dr Muhammad Anwar of MQM and Dr Ishrat of MQM. The MQM stance was that the establishment in Pakistan was Punjabi-dominated and no one could rule without its assent. This establishment controlled the elected governments and forced them to undertake actions that discriminate against the smaller provinces and deprive them of their rights. Punjab was too big and got the lion's share of the resources — resources that often originated in the smaller provinces. For instance, 67 percent of the state revenue accrued from Sindh but Sindh got only 20 percent from the divisible pool while Punjab got 58 percent from the 40 percent that is allocated to the provinces by the centre. Editor Zia Shahid said that Punjabis did not "plan" to become such a large majority. He was of the opinion that the province of Punjab must be divided further to rationalise its size. He said, in India, a much smaller Punjab province was divided into three states, but in Pakistan the federation was seen to be in danger every time this question was put forward. Tahir Rasheed said that Sindh was not made up of only Sindhis but was home to all nationalities who worked there to create its wealth. The imports on which duties were levied in Karachi were the imports that went to all the provinces. Dr Anwar raised the point that today Punjab asserted its majority but in the 1956 Constitution the Bengali majority in East Pakistan was deprived through the principle of parity, which meant that the Punjabis did not observe the rule of majority when it did not suit them. Tahir Rasheed emotionally asserted that the MQM was created by the army, to which host Dr Masood added that that the Nawaz League too was a creation of the army. Tahir Rasheed vehemently denied that. He said it was Nawaz Sharif who brought the Biharis from Bangladesh and settled them in Mian Channu in Punjab, to which Dr Anwar said that the chief minister Wyne who organised this migration was thereafter killed. The discussion frequently declined into non-intellectual emotionalism, mainly through ill-chosen rhetoric by Dr Muhammad Anwar and Tahir Rasheed.

The discussion was a shameful demonstration of how ignorant and emotional the leaders from both sides were about the problems faced by Pakistan. They cut each other in mid-sentence and resorted to what in the common parlance is called "bullshit"; and even Dr Muhammad Anwar, who began rationally, used language not appropriate for the dialogue. Minorities live on fear and assert this fear when under democracy. Muslims of India went through this experience vis-à-vis the Hindu majority. An uptight Hindu majority led by Congress made the mistake of not being easy with this assertion. Today, India wants no one to come into South Asia, while Pakistan wants outside powers to come in and arbitrate. G.M Syed of Jiye Sindh and Ghaffar Khan of NAP wanted India to come in and arbitrate, and Punjab did not like it. Now MQM has common interests with PPP, PML and the Nationalists, but also has points of disagreement. In 1988, MQM reached an agreement with the PPP in power, based on the joint stand about the rights of the "locals" in Sindh against Punjabis, but fell out with it soon afterwards because of its condition of "separate" nationality for the "muhajirs" and acceptance of more Biharis from Bangladesh.

As narrated by M.S. Korejo in his book "A Testament of Sindh" (OUP), in 1989, it reached another agreement with PML after supporting a no-confidence vote against the PPP government in the National Assembly. This agreement, asking for the transfer of "stranded Pakistanis" from Bangladesh, was against the Sindhis who vehemently opposed it. It made shipwreck in 1990 and the ethnic mayhem started in the cities of Sindh. In 1992, the army stepped in and hunted down the ethnic terrorists. In 1993, another MQM-PPP agreement on the basis of 19 MQM demands could not be concluded, but the PML(N), coming to power in 1997, began to let off MQM convicts in order to build itself up in Sindh against the PPP.

The MQM's separatists at one point also joined up with Jiye Sindh against Punjabis. MQM's demand for a separate province in Sindh parallels the demand of Sindh National Front (led by Mumtaz Bhutto) that Sindh be treated as a sovereign state as mentioned in the Pakistan Resolution of 1940. Under the 1989 agreement with MQM, PML(N) settled 67 Bihari families from Bangladesh in Mian Channu in Punjab ignoring an almost unanimous opposition expressed by the Sindhi press. Within months, these families fled to Karachi. Chief minister Wyne was not killed because he settled the Biharis in Mian Channu. The need for the creation of new provinces in three "smaller" provinces in Pakistan may be unfeasible, but the logic of dividing Punjab three ways is irresistible. Punjab too is suffering because of its size. Funds and infrastructure that should go to the South and the plateau of Potohar get "smuggled" to Lahore because politicians from these regions have started living in Lahore because of the location of the Punjab Assembly. The High Court serves these regions inefficiently through "benches". The MQM remains a non-intellectual set-up because of the semi-literate personality of Altaf Hussain. As a movement MQM plays the other parties against one another and has not grasped the tragedy of the Sindhi in his own province.

Suhail Zaheer Lari in his book "An Illustrated History of Sindh" (Heritage) tells us that the Sindhi majority first struggled against the dominance of the Hindu minority who were in majority in the cities. The muhajirs, whose minority in India had formed urban majorities there, moved into Sindhi cities to occupy the higher urban status abandoned by the Hindus. The Sindhis themselves are not all ethnically Sindhi but outsiders who have been assimilated. The MQM has postponed this "assimilation" for the muhajirs under Pakistan ideology. If the MQM gets a separate province, all the cities of Sindh will go to them.
It must be mentioned that when the muhajirs arrived in Sindh in 1947, the Sindhi feudals bullied them and made at least a million out of the over-all seven to return to India. The same feudals looted the Hindu refugees fleeing to India. The Punjabis began by ruling Pakistan in tandem with the muhajirs because of their shared anti-province "Pakistan Ideology" under One Unit. Today PML(N), a product of the Pakistan army, and the MQM, another product of the Pakistan army, are at cross purposes, and the Sindhis are divided into nationalists and supporters of the PPP, the last increasingly seen by the Pakistan army and the Punjabis as a "security risk". People like Tahir Rasheed will bring shame to any province they represent.

On 3 September 2002 GEO news channel in its "test" transmission gave the news that the different communities living in the Northern Areas had demanded that the syllabi taught at the matriculation level in schools be separated to reflect their different faiths.

In the not too distant future, the Northern Areas will hit us in the face. The peaceful Ismaili community has fled into the mountains and is reforming itself constantly through education. The Shia are hardline in confrontation with the Deobandis whose strength is colossal today after the migration of the Pushtuns into the region because of the Karakoram Highway. The three communities are not mutually friendly, while one community, led by Sipah Sahaba and JUI, thinks the other two apostates. The Aga Khan NGO has been attacked and its offices bombed. Unfortunately the Urdu press in Lahore has gone along with this Sipah Sahaba hooliganism, and respectable and rational journalists like Abdul Karim Abid have accepted the dirty myth that an Aga Khan Ismaili state would be forced on Pakistan in the Northern Areas by the United States.
Curtsey:Daily Times, September 25, 2002



Too many Punjabi babus at centre irk Senators
Lawmakers say out of 40 federal secys,
only one from Sindh and none from Balochistan


ISLAMABAD - Opposition lawmakers in Senate on Friday raised eyebrows over the excessive stuffing of ministries with top bureaucrats belonging to Punjab province lamenting that civil servants from Sindh and Balochistan had been kept at bay from key posts despite their good service record.

Senator Col (r) Syed Tahir Mashhadi of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) taking floor of the house drew the attention of Minister In-charge of Establishment Division to the alleged discriminatory treatment meted out to officers belonging to Sindh and Balochistan.

Mashhadi informed that out of 40 federal secretaries, only one belonged to Sindh while Senator Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini of BNP-M party said no public servant from Balochistan headed any ministry, adding the only top officer serving in federal government was performing his duties as additional secretary, who too was toothless.

Senator Mashhadi went on to inform the house that dozens of civil servants from Sindh had scored 78 points as per the criteria for eligibility to serve as federal secretary, regretting that officers from Punjab who had scored even 72 points were appointed as top class bureaucrats.

“Why you doubt the talent of Sindh? Don’t they (government) remember that Sindh has produced figures like Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto? I ask the minister in-charge to explain why only civil servants from Punjab are elevated to BPS-22 grades and why those from Sindh and Balochistan are neglected,” Mashhadi thundered in the house.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab apologised for having no satisfactory reply to the house over the issue triggering Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to ask Leader of the House Senator Raja Zafarul Haq to explain the government’s point of view on the subject.

But Senator Zafarul Haq too failed to explain the reason behind this policy, informing the Senate that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself was heading a committee empowered to depute federal secretaries.
On insistence of Chairman Rabbani, he however assured that he would bring the matter into the notice of the PM.

The chairman said the issue was of utmost importance as there has been furore of senators over the less representation of bureaucrats belonging to smaller provinces.
Rabbani said if PM office failed to satisfy the members, the house would be left with no option but to constitute a special committee to securitise the issue.

On a separate calling attention notice, Senator Saeed Ghani of PPP showed reservations over the way Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC) was privatised by the government and claimed that massive malpractices were being committed in the outsourcing process.
To the dismay of house the minister concerned was not present to explain government’s point of view, forcing Senate chairman to warn Leader of the House of taking disciplinary action over the absence of the minister.

Senator Zafarul Haq assured that the minister concerned would be available by Monday in the house.
But Senator Ghani said the HEC would be privatised by then as according to his information only few days were left in completion of the privatisation of the HEC.

Earlier, during Question Hour, ANP’s Senators staged a walk out against the government for not investing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to generate electricity from hydel resources in the province, accusing the federal government of undertaking power projects in Punjab alone.

Senator Attau Rehman of JUI-F asked the house to take notice of the recent statement of Information Minister Pervez Rashid against religious seminaries and its students which, he said, had hurt the feelings of people.
He termed the statements of the minister on the issue ‘sacrilegious’.

But Chairman Rabbani stopped the lawmaker from speaking in the absence of the minister, saying the information minister would personally explain what he had exactly said about seminaries.
The minister was asked to appear in the house on Monday for explaining his position.

The Senate suspended question hour session in its current sitting after government requested Senate chairman that the relevant ministries/departments had not prepared answers of the questions as the house was supposed to be adjourned on Friday.
The Nation: May 16, 2015


Mengal for changing biased thought process in Punjab

ISLAMABAD  -   Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief and former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal has said that only way forward for peace in Balochistan is the acceptance of six-point demands of Baloch people and only then Baloch people can trust Federation and come to negotiating table. Mengal was addressing a book-launching ceremony organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. The book titled “Balochistan: Azadi Sai Subai Bai-Ikhtiari Tak” was written by eminent writer and senior advisor SDPI, Ahmad Salim who has been conferred with Presidential Pride of Performance by Government of Pakistan and Bangladesh Freedom Award for his excellent contributions in the field of literature and human rights.The book is a complete political history of Balochistan, with analysis, copies of rare documents and compilation of events that shaped the Baloch history from independence of Pakistan to the recent events till February 2013. The event also featured a panel discussion on “Peace in Balochistan & the Role of Federation”. Speaking on the occasion, Sardar Mengal appreciated the book which, according to him, has truly documented the history of Balochistan. He was of the view that Balochistan was repeatedly invaded not only by military dictators but civilian democratic governments as well. Mengal urged the need to change biased ‘thought process’ against Balochistan particularly in Punjab, which is bent over capturing resources and oppressing the dissenting voices. He also demanded that Baloch people must be given real power to use their land and resources.He was of the view that instead of addressing the root causes of Balochistan problem, the government is suggesting fancy projects for Balochistan to pacify people. He explained that operation is still in progress in parts of Balochistan and according to human rights report, in last 25 days of current government, 65 persons have gone missing while 13 mutilated bodies have been recovered. Abducting people and mutilating bodies while calling for negotiation would not work anymore, he added. He said that Baloch people can only think to sitting at the negotiating table if their demands, as mentioned in six points, are accepted. He presented the six point’s demand of Baloch people, which according to him are under the constitution and essential to bring peace in Balochistan. He demanded that all military operations against the Baloch should immediately be suspended. He asked to produce all missing persons before a court of law. He condemned the killing of Baloch people and demanded to prosecute the persons responsible for inhuman torture, killing and dumping of dead bodies of the Baloch political leaders and activists. Mengal also demanded to disband proxy death squads operating under the supervision of establishment in the province. He also called for giving complete freedom to political parties and rehabilitate thousands of displaced Baloch living in appalling condition.Mengal criticised the recent election process in Pakistan and said, “It is unfortunate that even today, democracy in Pakistan is at behest of establishment. Elections in Balochistan were not transparent and we experienced widespread interference, threats and rigging where the results were withheld from 3 to 18 days without any reason,” he added. However, Mengal showed his commitment to remain part of democratic process despite all injustice. It is now up to Federation to demonstrate serious attitude otherwise it’s already too late to win over Baloch people. Speaking at the occasion, Ahmad Salim author of the book and senior advisor SDPI narrated brief history of federating units in Pakistan and said that unfortunately federation in Pakistan has a week grounding when some federating units at the time of independence had forced annexation including Qalat. Also the democratically elected provincial government in a smaller federating unit NWFP was toppled only after 7 days of independence on 22 August 1947. He said that dominance of Punjab over affairs of the country was established since then and continued till now which has weakened the federation in Pakistan. He was of the view that there is no doubt that resources of smaller provinces were misappropriated and time has come that Punjab play its positive role in addressing the concerns of Baloch brother and bring peace in the province.Jan Achakzai, Spokesperson Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) said that Balochistan has been treated unfairly by the federal government and now the only way forward is through political realisation of actual problem especially at Centre. He argued that administrative and tactical action at provincial level may help a little but the real solution lies in ending state of denial and resorting to political coherence in Islamabad.IA Rehman, Secretary General Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said that ironically Balochistan and KPK have to face injustice from the very and federation showed a very irresponsible and insensitive behavior. He said that now a political solution is required and the new government must be very careful in selecting ministers who have the trust of Baloch people.Senior Political and Defence Analyst, Lt Gen (Retd) Talat Masood, said that unfortunately till now, military was used by the federation to counter insurgency, sectarian differences, political, social and economic problems in Balochistan instead of a political discourse. He said that geostrategic location and natural resources of Balochistan are a blessing and the only way to utilise these resources would be through bringing peace in Balochistan. 
Curtsey:The Nation: Jul 9, 2013 

Punjabi betrayal or Sindhi loyality?

Najma Minhas

The recent Herald/SDPI survey on how Pakistanis are thinking about political parties and issues one year after the 2013 elections has many provocative findings. For instance, it claims that if elections are held tomorrow, then ‘33 percent of people surveyed’ would vote for PTI, 19 percent for the PPP and a mere 17 percent for PMLN. The ethnicity breakdowns are even more interesting; with 45 percent of Punjabis saying they would vote for PTI versus 25 percent for the PML-N and 5 percent for the PPP. The primary issue which concerns people is the energy crisis (64 percent) – over which the Minister for Water and Power, Khwaja Asif, remarked that only God could help control the issue. Therefore it is no wonder the population surveyed is thinking they need another party in power; one that does not leave the man-made mess of the energy crisis in God’s hands alone.

So much for popular politics! However, beyond the headlines about how PTI would form a government if the elections were held tomorrow, what this survey really exposes is the rather cruel, awkward and politically incorrect difference between the ‘homo rationalis’ sitting in Punjab versus the ‘homo patiens’ sitting in Sindh. Punjabis – the survey tells us - are not happy with their ruling government; energy (57 percent), inflation (50 percent) and corruption (48 percent) are the topmost issues on their agitated minds. Furthermore, 28 percent of Punjabis cite corruption as having increased; quite logically, 43 percent of them have declared they would vote for another party to rule if elections were held tomorrow.

Let’s contrast that with Sindh? We hear stories of blue planet’s most overpriced second hand APC’s coming in from Serbia, of Inspector Generals of Police and City Police Chiefs being sacked or set aside for supposedly doing good work. And we watch visuals of gourmet feasts being organized for the chief minister during the Tharparkar famine crisis. The survey tells us that 39 percent of the homo patiens sitting in Sindh think the current Sindh government has not handled a single issue well and 72 percent quoted corruption as the most important concern followed by poverty at 62 percent and energy at 61 percent. Yet, 55 percent of them say that if an election is held tomorrow they will vote for the PPP again, 20 percent for the MQM and 5 percent for the PML-F. Interesting sense of loyalty, isn’t it?

What explains this? There is a whole body of research that points out that individuals who are from lower socio-economic backgrounds, with less access to educational and health facilities, with less control over negative life experiences over time and with greater sense of personal insecurity may make ‘poorer ‘decisions. If we contrast the socio-economic indicators in the two provinces we can begin to see some hard evidence that may lend some support to this politically incorrect claim. The Gini coefficient – which measures the distribution of income – shows sharper inequality of wealth in Sindh at 0.4 against Punjab at 0.3; Sindh has over 30 percent of its residents in the lowest wealth quintile as opposed to 13 percent for Punjab. Urbanization in Punjab is creating many small towns and cities all over the province whilst in Sindh, it is concentrated in a couple of large cities- Karachi alone accounts for 60 percent of Sindh’s urban population.

But these statistics only represent the tip of the iceberg. Dig deeper and the findings are far more disturbing. In Sindh, only 29% of children have had their basic vaccinations as compared to 65% in Punjab; 40% of Sindhi children are suffering from mal-nutrition; only 61% of the population has access to proper sanitation as compared to 78% in Punjab. In Sindh, only 57% population was aware of Lady Health Workers, a program that was launched under the Second Benazir Bhutto government in 1994 and helps to provide essential primary health care services that can range from child vaccinations to family planning services; in Punjab 78% knew about it. And if you had heard of Shahbaz Sharif sleepless for ghost schools, then rest assure that Sindh has the largest number of ghost schools in Pakistan at 6,164.

These statistics taken from the latest Pakistan demographic household survey along with the Herald/SDPI survey should give politicians, civil society and the media much to chew on, and ponder about. In the case of the PPP, despite their degrees from Oxbridge and Harvard, perhaps the status quo has always suited them. It does mean that the beacon of hope for the Sindhi people falls in the hands of the opposition parties, MQM, PML-F, PTI and others, to work on these socioeconomic factors for their own political gains. In Punjab, however, whilst no doubt a bitter pill to chew for the PML-N, it seems that better socio-economic indicators make for more aware citizens who may choose to exercise their rights and vote an unsatisfactory party out of power. However, a silver lining amongst these sullen clouds is that if any other government did not deliver on what the people wanted from them – they too would suffer the same fate.
 Najma Minhas, an economist by training, is Director Governance & Policy Advisors.
Curtsey:The Nation, July 24, 2014/


'How long will Punjab be expected to sacrifice?’

DR Ayesha Ghaus-Pasha
One of the many reasons the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) award is often referred to as a milestone in the country’s history is that after decades of wrangling with other federating units, Punjab conceded to their demand for replacing the previous population-based formula for inter-provincial redistribution of funds from the federal tax divisible pool with multiple criteria.
Although population still dominates the new formula with a share of 82 per cent, Punjab’s concession ensured that backwardness was assigned a weight of 10.3pc, revenue generation 5pc and area 2.7pc. Consequently, Punjab’s overall share from the resource was cut by 1.27pc to 51.74pc.
However, the increase in the combined provincial share from the divisible pool from 47.5pc to 57.5pc ‘indirectly’ made up for the loss of the most populated province in absolute terms.
Now that the precedent has been set, many in Punjab believe the other provinces can demand further adjustments in the formula for horizontal distribution and cut in the weight of population when negotiations for the new award begin.
Dawn spoke to economist Dr Ayesha Ghaus-Pasha, who will represent Punjab in the NFC deliberations, about the viewpoint of the province on the issue and how she plans to approach the negotiations.
Following are the excerpts:
Q. What will be the demands of Punjab when the next NFC starts its deliberations?
A. It is premature to say anything about Punjab’s case. We’ve done our analysis and are in the process of finalising our demands and strategy. At the moment, it’ll suffice to say that Punjab has sacrificed a great deal in the last award to strengthen the federation. We’ve always played the role of ‘big brother’ for the sake of the federation. [As a consequence,] the development of our social and economic sectors has suffered a lot.
Q. There are indications that the other provinces may demand further downward adjustment in the weight assigned to population and increase in the weights of other criteria used for horizontal distribution of the combined provincial share from the federal tax divisible pool. What’s your take on this?
A. We will see to it if and when the demand is actually raised during the final NFC deliberations. But let me say here that Punjab is a very big province, the most populated one; we’ve a lot of work to do to lift our social and economic sectors. The [federal] transfers [under the present award] are inadequate [for our development requirements]. We’re hopeful that others [provinces] will think about and take care of our needs in the same way we have taken care of their requirements. How long will Punjab continue to be expected to sacrifice? It is high time the ‘younger brothers’ also realised their obligations, stepped forward and contributed their bit to strengthen the federation and the country.
We have to grow together as a nation; we will not get anywhere if we continue to pull one another’s legs. We need to develop the country as a whole, as one nation. We must think about the country first and shun parochial thoughts.
Q. There are people who believe the provinces have failed to implement their side of the deal to increase the provincial taxes as agreed with the federal government during the negotiations for the 7th award. How do you look at this criticism?
A. Indeed, all the stakeholders must fulfil their obligations and responsibilities. It’s true that the provinces have not been able to keep their side of the agreement; but the federal government has defaulted on its side of the bargain in a much bigger way. As a result, the tax-to-GDP ratio remains stagnant [at below 10pc].
That said, let me also inform you that Punjab has implemented several actions to reform its provincial tax administration and system to step up its tax effort. We have already set up the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) to collect General Sales Tax (GST) on services. We’ve broadened services under provincial GST and grown property tax base and collection.
We must get credit for our efforts to implement the long overdue structural reforms. We don’t want to compromise on our long-term objectives for immediate benefits. You should also appreciate the fact that the sectors such as services, property or agriculture available with the provinces for taxation are difficult to tax. On the other hand, the share of withholding and presumptive taxes in the federal direct taxes has been on the increase. In other words, the federal government is earning money without moving any of its limbs.
Our strategy in Punjab is to move forward in a proper way without delaying structural reforms and increase our tax collection by broadening the base and netting difficult areas that are not contributing enough tax revenues. The benefits of the reforms being implemented now will start appearing after some time.
Q. Almost every province, Punjab included, has objected to encroachment by the federal government upon the provincial tax base through budgetary measures. The federal requirement for provincial surpluses (to hold down consolidated budget deficit under the IMF loan agreement) is also considered against the spirit of the 7th award. Will Punjab raise these issues at the NFC forum?
A. Let me say it at the risk of repeating myself that all of us — the provinces and centre both — have to strengthen one another. We cannot move forward by strangling each other. These are the issues that we must address and resolve when we sit across the table if we want to get anywhere as a nation.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015


Punjab vs other provinces


IS refers to Punjab representative of NFC Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha’s interview ‘How long will Punjab be expected to sacrifice?’ (April 21).
This is a new question.It suggests that hitherto Punjab has been sacrificing for other federating units, though facts speak otherwise. Here is a quick look through the Pakistan Energy Yearbook 2013: Sindh produces 40.63pc of the total oil, KP 40.40pc and Punjab 18.90pc.
Against this, Punjab consumes more than 70pc of the oil produced. The same yearbook shows that Sindh contributes 68.65pc to Pakistan’s total gas production, Balochistan 18.37pc, KP 8.38pc and Punjab 4.6pc.
Thus consumption vs production ratio of gas is: Sindh 55, Balochistan 30, KP 51 and Punjab 783. Sindh and KP use about 50pc of the gas they produce, Balochistan less than onr-third while Punjab uses about 800pc gas more than what it produces.
Similarly, during the One Unit era Punjab had more in arrears (loans) which were paid by the One Unit government. And very interestingly the same argument was forwarded then that Punjab was sacrificing for the sake of the country.
Dr Pasha says: “Punjab has sacrificed a great deal in the last award to strengthen the federation.” The only example she could produce is is its ‘conceding to the demand for replacing the population-based formula for the NFC award with multiple criteria’. But it is still 82pc for population and only 5pc for revenue generation.
The question is: ‘Who owns all the resources that produce money and the means that generate taxes ?’. The only answer is the provinces. The centre has no resources of its own. So the centre’s role is and should be that of an efficient manager and an honest broker.
If the rule is that whatever is produced and wherever produced is the property of the whole country and should be used wherever needed, then things that Punjab produces/owns like wheat and underground sweet water should also be included in the national divisible pool. Why only those things that ‘others’ produce or own.
Dr Pasha says: “Punjab is a very big province, the most populous one; we have a lot of work to do to lift our social and economic sectors.”
I ask her why wasn’t this principle followed when East Pakistan ( erstwhile ) was the most populous province?
She says further : “How long will Punjab continue to be expected to sacrifice?”
No one, at least from Sindh, expects Punjab to sacrifice. Let us agree: ‘Keep with you what is yours and leave with us what is ours’.
In the end she lectures younger brothers to “think about the country first and shun parochial thoughts”. For her, talking about Punjab’s developement amounts to thinking for the country, but asking for development rights of other provinces is tantamount to parochial thought.
Khalique Junejo

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2015


Our anti-Punjab clamour —
Aamir Riaz

Putting all the blame on Punjabis is a post-1971 syndrome. From 1947 till 1971, the pro-centralist Pakistani establishment remained busy in managing the Bengali majority, while after 1971 they had a desire to weaken the remaining four provinces, especially the Punjab, so that no one could challenge the centralist forces.

These days Punjab is under discussion. The resonance of an anti-Punjab clamour was heard recently even in the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, regarding Balochistan. Here I need to write about the Punjab and its liberal-progressive history of the 20th century, which looks problematic.

In colonial times, there were two types of struggles and it was the Punjab that had both examples: the Ghaddar Party and the Unionist Party, both secular. It was the Punjab that produced Iqbal and Faiz, and if our intellectuals re-read the Allahabad address, they will realize that the Allahabad address 1930 and the August 11, 1947 speech are both examples of a liberal, progressive appeal. After partition, it was Mian Iftikhar-ud-din of the Punjab who resigned as Minister for Muhajreen (Refugees) on a principled stand, advising Liaqat Ali Khan to stop playing vested interest games regarding land and property left behind by Hindus and Sikhs. In 1949, it was Ghulam Muhammad of Mochi Gate, Lahore, who was the major hindrance in making the Objectives Resolution a full part of the constitution. It was Suhrawardy and Mamdot who created the first opposition party, the Jinnah Awami League. For the Bengali issue, responsibility was laid on the nexus of the civil-military bureaucracy, which had their own institutional interests. They were/are neither Punjabi nor Pakhtun but strictly wedded to their institutional or personal interests. They used Urdu and Islam to construct a centralist authoritarian state.

Putting all the blame on Punjabis is a post-1971 syndrome. From 1947 till 1971, the pro-centralist Pakistani establishment remained busy in managing the Bengali majority, while after 1971 they had a desire to weaken the remaining four provinces, especially the Punjab, so that no one could challenge the centralist forces. Politicians pre-empted it, and then the makers of the 1973 constitution included a clause that is still vital regarding provincial autonomy. Even General Zia once said that he wanted to divide Pakistan into 100 provinces. For the last 30 years it is in the interests of Punjab to build Kalabagh Dam (KBD). In a meeting, Khan Abdul Wali himself had said that he alone could not have stopped the construction of the KBD. It was General Zia who was not interested. If the theory of 'supremacy of Punjabis' is true, then why had they failed to build KBD?

Anyway, let us look at the first half of the 20th century in Punjab first. From the 19th century till today, Punjab remained victim of the Frontier Forward Policy (FFP). In 1808, Metcalf came to Lahore to engage the Punjab government. It was his desire, as written in his report, that Punjab would help them in the British military campaign in Afghanistan and beyond. They needed a safe passage from Lahore to Torkham, yet the then maharaja of Punjab refused three times. To destabilise the Punjab government, the British sponsored a jihad in the leadership of a man from Bareli from 1836-1831. A lashkar was raised in central India, and according to Francis Robinson, the British Governor of Bengal allowed Syed Ahmad Shaheed and company to collect funds from the bazaar. It is a hard fact that jihadists with the help of the imperial power started their journey from Delhi via Rajasthan, and after crossing Sindh and Balochistan, moved toward Peshawar via the Afghan frontier. Just imagine: at that time the British and Afghan government and jihadists all were united against Punjab, but everyone knew that Punjabis did not support orthodox Islam. The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, tries to repeat history vis-à-vis Balochistan.

It was the Royal Bengal Army (RBA) that fought three wars against the Punjab. It is to be remembered that the RBA consisted of soldiers from UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and Bengal. Annexation of the Punjab was a leap forward in the process of FFP. After annexation of the Punjab, the British wanted to build an army from Punjab so that they could capture the historic old trade link, the Silk Route. To fulfil that purpose, they tried to convert the trade and agro-based Punjab economy into a garrison economy. Before annexation of the Punjab, the British had never used the term martial races, yet after annexation their intellectuals extensively used the term martial races for Punjabis who lived between Jhelum and Attock. The British wanted to recruit them. In the early 1850s they not only had a policy to reduce the RBA but also allocated a huge budget for the development of an army from newly annexed Punjab. In 1857 the war of independence was a reaction against the new policy. The reaction of the RBA sepoys has some resemblance with the jihadists nowadays who suddenly turned anti-US when the US stopped funding of the Afghan jihad and signed the Geneva Accords in 1986.

After the successful Ambella campaign of 1862 near Swat, British forces had ample control over the plains as well as mountains of the Punjab. To boost the garrison economy, they built canal colonies, and introduced schemes like cow and horse breeding, which served the garrison economy in multiple ways. It was a demographic as well as an economic shift in the Punjab. Since then, a battle is being fought within Punjab between the garrison economy and others. After annexation of Punjab, the new war front was Afghanistan and beyond. Now they wanted to recruit an army from the Punjabi areas adjacent to the Afghan frontier. To appease the Punjabis, under the instructions of Lawrence, they started massive construction in Lahore, introduced Railways, constructed buildings and formed schools in specific areas. They built a canal system to feed and recruit army. They distributed lands among loyalists who were subservient to the garrison economy. They followed the Maharaja and shifted Northern Command Headquarters to Rawalpindi.
(To be continued)
Curtsey:Daily Times, March 13, 2012


Our anti-Punjab mayhem-II —
Aamir Riaz

 If you scan the 20th century, Punjabis never voted in favour of fundamentalists. From the PRODA of Liaquat Ali Khan to the EBDO of Ayub Khan, numerous Punjabi leaders became victims of the ruling classes and finally, in 1970 Punjabis voted for Bhutto and they were right
Raza Abidi, in his famous writing Rail Kahani, recorded the story of a British plan to build a huge railway junction between Sukkur and Larkana with the name Ruk in 1879. They had plans to build a railway line via Kandahar to Turkey though Iran. In the 1880s the British fought the Anglo-Afghan wars. They were ready to fight with the Tsar directly if required. Before the 1893 Durand Line divide, the imperial power was interested to capture the old Silk Route running through the Tsarist empire, yet the late 19th century rise of Germany in Europe halted these imperial designs. Under the threat of Germany, the British and the Tsar made the Durand Line agreement. Hot wars ended provisionally at the Pakistan-Afghanistan front and it was the beginning of a cold war, yet even during that the Punjab remained the hub of activity. According to Abidi, the Ruk station was completed in 1896 even though up till that time the British had abandoned the project. Even today, if you visit Ruk, which means 'stop' in Punjabi, you will find a plate mentioning Kandahar. The 800-mile line of demarcation, the Durand Line, started from the triangular junction of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran border while it ended at the Wakhan Corridor, the neck of the old Silk Route. Under the Durand Line agreement, the British carved out the tribal areas and used them as a buffer zone. Like the martial race thesis, they, with the help of intellectuals-administrators like Olaf Caroe, proposed another flawed thesis, which is still in use. They said that the Pashtuns or the tribals remained independent and no one ever annexed them. In reality, the Mughals and Maharaja Ranjeet Singh had ruled them for centuries, yet, many Pashtun nationalists got trapped in the new thesis under the compulsion of nationalism. After the Durand Line agreement, the British divided the Punjab in 1901, carved out six Punjabi districts and included them in the newly created North West Frontier Province. In 1903, a big darbaar (court gathering) was arranged in Delhi. Now the British were ready to move their capital. In 1911, Delhi was carved away from the Punjab and declared the new imperial capital. These were the fallouts of the Durand Line agreement on Punjab.
It must be remembered that Muslims were more than 78 percent in the Lahore darbaar, yet in 1846 the British separated Kashmir, reducing the Muslim population to less than 70 percent. After the carving away of six Punjabi districts, the Muslim population was further reduced to 56 percent. In 1916, the Lucknow Pact proposed a weightage formula, which further reduced Muslim majorities in Bengal and Punjab. Visionaries like Allama Iqbal, C R Das, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mian Shafi registered their opposition. The All-India Congress was in favour of the rule of the majority at an all-India level, yet in the provinces it supported the weightage formula. From 1919 till 1937, the Punjabis not only fought against the pitfalls of the Lucknow Pact, but also, under Mian Fazle Hussain, got the strength to oppose the Congress. From the 1919 Chelmsford Reforms till the Government of India Act 1935, there was a system of diarchy in British India. The question of residuary powers was a bone of contention among the Centre and the provinces.
Interestingly, it was the All-India Muslim League (AIML) and the 14 points of Jinnah that supported the provinces, while the Congress supported a strong Centre. The Unionists, Ahrar and AIML (Shafi) were not only against the Lucknow Pact, they were in favour of provincial rights. In the 1937 elections, both Punjab and Bengal did not vote for Congress. It was the beginning of the parting of ways, yet the Congress leadership never realised it in time.
If you scan the 20th century, Punjabis never voted in favour of fundamentalists. From the PRODA of Liaquat Ali Khan to the EBDO of Ayub Khan, numerous Punjabi leaders became victims of the ruling classes and finally, in 1970 Punjabis voted for Bhutto and they were right. During Zia's time, the Punjabis remained loyal to the PPP, chose prison sentences rather than siding with the civil-military establishment. In the 1980s the establishment tried its best to root out PPP from Punjab. They supported Nawaz Sharif, yet in 2006 he signed the Charter of Democracy with PPP, which threatened the establishment. The lawyers movement and the restoration of the judges issue once again divided the PPP and the PML-N, yet both parties remained committed to not call on the army in the power game. The 18th amendment once again strengthens provinces, but nonetheless, the Centre tries its best to confuse this shift. The issue of new provinces is an effort to create a post-18th amendment fallout on Islamabad. As both popular parties are still supporting the 18th amendment, the establishment is trying to stand up as a third force and yet the Punjabis are still either with PPP or the PML-N. In the anti-Punjab mayhem, intellectuals are trying to save the civil-military establishment by putting all the blame on to Punjab. That is just old wine in a new bottle.
The writer is a Lahore-based editor and researcher. He can be reached at newline2100@yahoo.co.uk

Half of Punjab left unlisted in census


LAHORE, April 22: More than half of Punjab has been dropped and left unlisted in the ongoing house-listing census process as the Population Census Organization lacks the staff and expertise for the task, claims the Punjabi Language Movement. 

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, convener Nazeer Kahut alleged that “insufficient” and “disorganized” enumerator of the organization failed to ensure complete coverage of each and every housing unit in Punjab in the given time.

He feared that the “grave irregularity” was set to result in drastically reducing Punjab’s population at the end of the census and consequently causing irreparable damage to the province’s interests both at federal and provincial level.
Rejecting the house-listing process, he said the house census in almost half of Punjab could not be initiated either for lack of staff shortage or with the “ill-intent” to reduce the province’s population.

Challenging the census data, he said he was ready to prove it wrong through field check in the presence of media, judiciary, army and United Nations’ observers.

Mr Kahut alleged that the 1972 “fraud” pattern was being repeated by computerized manipulation of population figures as the authorities failed to cover the province with more than 100 million population.

He said the “engineered” house-listing was aimed at reducing province’s population to divide Punjab on a lingual basis and to deprive it of its due share in the NFC award and other grants, civil service and jobs in federal financial institutions, as well as seats in parliament.

Pointing out irregularities in the past five censuses, he claimed that in the 1951 census the Punjabi speaking people were 67.08 per cent of the total population, in 1961 it was reduced to 66.39 per cent, in 1972 to 66.11 per cent.
He said in 1982, the Punjabi population was drastically reduced to 48.17 per cent and in 1998 to 44.15 per cent as never in the history of any country the linguistic identity or ethnic groups had seen such a drastic fall in its population.
The Punjabi Movement leader demanded putting an end to “Seraikilisation of Punjab” and removing Seraiki from the census form declaring it a dialect like various dialects of Sindhi, Balochi and Pushto.

He sought a 30-day extension in the house listing period and increasing the number of enumerators to 100,000 in Punjab for covering the whole province.
He demanded intervention of the judiciary and the army “for the sake of justice and to ensure a free and transparent house-listing and population census”.
Curtsey:DAWN.COM PUBLISHED APR 22, 2011 






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