Future of Pakistan?
WASHINGTON DIARY: A murder foretold? —Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, August 30, 2006
We were sharing the experiences of an expert from an international organisation who has recently visited Pakistan and some areas of Afghanistan. When someone broke the news of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing, it seemed to be part of his presentation to be fully revealed to the audience after a prologue. As if it was to prove his point that Pakistan’s map may go through changes in the not-too-distant future.
He disclosed that he had been to several seminars where international speakers mentioned Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as part of Central Asia and Sindh and Punjab as part of Indian civilisation. He was asked about a recent article by Peter Ralph that discussed new alignments in the region, however he had not heard about it, and emphasised that he was not referring to a single person or a single seminar but an emerging pattern of thinking which indicated that, sooner or later, the civilisation factor will assert and redraw the map of Pakistan.
He was not very optimistic about the union of Sindh and Punjab either. The pace and patterns of development were so divergent and disparate, he said, that ultimately the gulf between two provinces would widen. Because of better management and in the absence of ethnic contradictions Punjab was growing much faster while rampant corruption, incompetence and inaction held Sindh back. The province was completely paralysed. And irrespective of whether Punjab capitalises on its indigenous resources or outside help, Sindhis on Lahore’s roads are going to smell their blood and sweat.
Unlike the past years he was very appreciative of the present institutional set-up in the Punjab. All international institutions and their experts, he informed us, wanted to work with the Punjab and lend it money. Most of the consultants and experts from international organisation preferred to stay in Lahore and work from there. Being assigned to a project in Sindh or Balochistan was considered a punishment. In his view, this was due to visible changes in government functioning and getting the visible results that every project manager is appraised for.
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