The Crisis of Federalism and Prospects for Provincial Autonomy in Pakistan Jami ChandioReagan-Fascell Democracy FellowInternational Forum for Democratic StudiesNational Endowment for DemocracyWashington, D.C.April 30, 2009The views expressed in this presentation represent the analysis and opinions of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for Democracy or its staff.
Presentation Outline • Part I: Introduction and Historical Context • Part II: Issues of Federalism • Part III: Recommendations
State Crisis in Pakistan Lahore: Struggle for rule of law Armed patrols in Pashtunkhwa (NWFP) Sindh: Demanding legitimate rights Grieving in Balochistan
Pre-Partition • Historical interpretations that place religion as the primary factor behind the partition of India are fundamentally flawed. • Decentralization, provincial autonomy, and power-sharing were demands of the northeast and northwest Muslim majority provinces. • Until 1930, there was little support for a state like Pakistan in these Muslim majority areas because of fears over this new state mainly representing Punjabi interests.
Rationale Behind the Emergence of Pakistan • Nehru Report of 1928 and the Constitution of India (1935 India Act) became major sources of conflict, which ultimately resulted in partition. • The constitution removed basic autonomy and rights from historically self-governed federating units • NE and NW Muslim majority provinces feared the domination and power of federal authorities. • Muslim League divisively exploited religion to gain support against the 1935 Act, which preserved the united state of India. • The 1940 Lahore Resolution offered the status of “autonomous and sovereign” states within the new formula. • After the1940 Resolution, NE and NW Muslim-majority provinces agreed to join the new state of Pakistan.
Post-Partition Dilemmas • 1947: Independence Act and over-centralization of state authorities through Provisional Constitution Order • 1949: Adoption of 1935 Act as an interim constitution for the new Pakistani state • Objective Resolution lays foundations for a theocratic state and a unitary form of government • 1949: Elevation of Urdu to the status of sole national language (which only 5.8% population of West Pakistan spoke) • 1955: Consolidation of west Pakistani provinces into the ill-famed “One Unit” scheme
Part II: Issues of Federalism • Over-centralization of the state authorities/structures • Concurrent lists favor federal authority against provinces • Domination of one province (Punjab) in all state institutions: parliament, armed forces, civil bureaucracy, and federal agencies and corporations. • Plight of smaller provinces • Unjust National Finance Commission (NFC) awards • Inequalities in natural resource exploitation and royalty distribution (water, oil, gas, coal, etc.) • Disproportionate allocation of jobs and opportunities • Undemocratic language and education policies • Inter-provincial migration and fears of supplanting of indigenous peoples
Inequalities in National Finance Commission (NFC) Awards Source: Pakistan National Human Development Report 2003, UNDP Pakistan, as cited in Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed, “Fiscal Federalism: Resource Sharing Issues,” Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
Inequalities in Natural Resource Exploitation and Royalty Distribution • Each province receives 12.5% of the total revenue it contributes to the national pool from resource exploitation. • The federal center keeps the other 88.5% of the royalty. • Oil- and gas-producing provinces remain chronically underdeveloped and do not receive their fair share from wealth production. Provincial Oil and Gas Production in Pakistan 2007–2008 Source: Pakistan Energy Yearbook 2008, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Government of Pakistan.
Disproportionate Allocation of Jobs and Opportunities Source: Mohammad Waseem, “Affirmative Action Policies in Pakistan,” Ethnic Studies Report, Vol. XV, No. 2, July 1997.
Ethnic Representation in Federal Bureaucracy Source: Charles H. Kennedy, “Managing Ethnic Conflict: The Case of Pakistan,” Regional Politics and Policy (Spring 1993): p. 138.
Consequences of Denied Federalism • Intra-state conflicts (economic, political and ethnic) • Center vs. Provinces • Punjab vs. Smaller Provinces • Provinces vs. Districts • Separation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) • Rising distrust in model of federalism as practiced in Pakistan • Weak state institutions and bad governance • Underdeveloped provincial and local governments and infrastructure • Unresponsiveness of authorities to citizens’ immediate needs and rights
Part III: Recommendations • Constitutional Reforms • Separation of Powers • Provincial autonomy • Fiscal Redistribution (NFC Awards) • Resource Exploitation and Royalties
Recommendations:Constitutional Reforms • A new, more democratic and representative constitution based on the 1940 Resolution should be passed by a new Constituent Assembly. • The 1973 constitution could serve in the interim, provided undemocratic amendments are abrogated • A Constitutional Court should be established to protect integrity of new constitution and arbitrate over inter-provincial/federal relations. • The concurrent list should be abolished. • The federal government should have only four areas of responsibility: foreign policy, defense, currency, and communications. • All remaining areas (including taxation) should go to provincial governments. • FATA and FANA should become part of Pashtunkhwa (NWFP). • The military should have no role or stake in politics and public life. • The armed forces should be restructured and should have equal representation from all the respective provinces.
Recommendations:Separation of Powers • A structurally imbalanced federation has emerged since the separation of East Pakistan. • Senate must be empowered as a true territorial chamber where each province retains equal numerical representation. • Senators should be directly elected by the populace. • Senate must have the power to pass or veto budget, defense and monetary bills as well as to approve treaties with foreign states. • All federal appointments must be confirmed by Senate committees. • Non-Muslim Pakistanis should be given representation in the Senate. • A renewed Council of Common Interests should be genuinely representative, meet regularly, and function according to its mandate of facilitating inter-provincial communication and conflict resolution.
Recommendations:Provincial Autonomy • Provinces should enjoy full provincial autonomy in accordance with 1940 resolution • All indigenous languages—Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Siraiki, Hindko and others—should be granted the status of national languages. • Urdu and English should remain the official languages of communication. • Provincial governments should be able to devise and implement education and language policies according to their own preferences. • District Government System should be abolished and the previous municipal system should be restored to its true spirit and form. • Either the office of the Governor should be abolished or the constitutional powers of governors should be curtailed (specifically the right to dismiss the provincial assemblies and governments). • The state has no constitutional or moral right to redraw the geographical boundaries of provinces against the wishes of the indigenous people.
Recommendations:Fiscal Redistribution (NFC) • National Finance Commission awards should not be distributed solely on the basis of population • Instead, the allocation of NFC awards should be decided through an index of the following criteria: • population • revenue-generation capacity • disparities in development as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI), inequality (GINI coefficient), and incidence of poverty in the provinces • level of per-capita income in comparison with other provinces • The Central Board of Revenue should be abolished in favor of the establishment of a Provincial Board of Revenue
Recommendations:Resource Exploitation and Royalties • Resource control should lie completely in the hands of provinces. • 30% of the royalty from fossil fuels should be given to the center • 20% of the royalty from fossil fuels should be given to the resource-producing districts • The remaining 50% should remain in the provinces. • According to international law on water-sharing, lower riparian areas have the right to veto any diversions of water from major rivers and tributaries. • Further cuts and diversions through dams, canals and barrages on the Indus River must gain the approval of lower riparian areas. • Upstream mega-water projects should be shelved.
Conclusion • True federalism offers the most democratic system to govern Pakistan’s diverse array of nationalities and communities. • Democratic resolution of intra-state conflicts and promotion of inter-provincial harmony • Depoliticizing and ensuring transparency in the military • Protecting language and cultural rights of all nationalities and communities • Providing equitable social justice to underdeveloped and marginalized regions, nationalities, and communities • Improve governance in regions threatened by the advance of the Taliban • Maintaining the integrity of the federation based on equality and justice
Thank You Long live the struggle for democracy, peace and provincial autonomy in Pakistan! email@example.com www.cpcs.org.pk