Pakistan commits a mistake by continuing with the narrative of ‘ nation first’ discourse even after 70 years; in the process, state organs forget to focus on the human beings living in Pakistan – their issues and problems became secondary to the purpose of the State. Thus, the purpose of the State is manipulated as the civil-military élite see it fit from their constituencies.

Human development is sacrificed with unfortunate consequences – we are now paying the price for this approach through social unrest and insurgencies. Such an approach caused a weakening of democracy, social justice, human rights and the rule of law. Whenever there has been a failure of governance or a military coup there is always a rhetorical demand for the revival of that foundational narrative through the centralizing force of the military, usually followed by an abrogation of the Constitution and the creation of structures more in tune with a unitary form of government. It creates tensions in the federation, it weakened democracy, social justice and the rule of law; they all add up to aggravating political tension, particularly in the smaller provinces.

Since inception, Pakistan has thus witnessed a constant tussle between those who wanted a strong centre supported by the majority province and the military, while, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan supported provincial rights.

A new era was started when Pakistan’s political party ‘Pakistan’s Peoples Party’ came in government and announced NFC (National Finance Commission) award and 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Every NFC award since 1947 has been debated within a framework of Federal domination and submergence of provincial demands. Apparently, this has now been corrected by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Whereas 93 percent of financial resources are generated by the Federal Government despite the fact that its share in expenditure is only 72 percent. The provinces are left with 7 percent resources and are responsible for 28 percent of total expenditure.

Balochistan is the province which eventually took the highest stakes from the NFC award and these amendments. Right after these amendments in 2009 ‘Aghaz e Haqooq e Balochistan’ program was started by the Government of Pakistan and the whole framework was devoted to the Provincial Government. Moreover, recently the Provincial Government of Balochistan foiled the Chinese company attempt from tax exemption.

This is the power of provinces which are now in exercise and Balochistan is getting the advantage of it. Another philosophical contour of this whole study is that it eventually sidelined the hardcore concepts of those people who always blame the centre for underdevelopment in Balochistan. It is not to say that the NFC has solved all the problems and that it would lead to major changes in the provinces. The total value of these transfers to the provinces is about 4.5 percent of the GDP. But then the total wealth of any country lies in other activities related to the private sector. The message clearly is to use the NFC resources to carry out reforms that will attract private sector investment and thus improve the indicators in the social sectors. The NFC funds should be viewed as seed capital for the creation of additional wealth.

In contemporary era Government of Pakistan is planning for 10th NFC award whereas the gains need to be amplified, institutionalized and protected in the days to come if they are to be meaningful and long-lasting.


About Author

Leave A Reply