Spearhead Special Report – 30.10.2018

By Syed Murtaza Zaidi
Research Analyst, Spearhead Research

After winning the majority of seats in the recent General Elections, the PTI, and their leader Imran Khan, did not waste any time in presenting a vision for the future. In their ‘100 days’ plan’ they highlighted six major factors that they would focus on, in order to fix the many problems facing the nation today. One of these provisions was the strengthening of the federation, by promoting unity and equality amongst the center, and the four provinces of the country.

Ever since its inception, Pakistan has struggled to effectively unite its federating units into one cohesive and cooperative group, with the majority of the blame for this state of affairs levelled at the hegemony enjoyed by Punjab, especially in the center. Residents and political leaders belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan accuse them of dominating government institutions, the civil bureaucracy and the military high command, and using this influence to ensure Punjab enjoys preferential treatment with regards to the budget and resource allocation.

Over the years, these differences have become even more stark, especially with the majority of the major political parties in the country increasingly focusing their attention on Punjab, primarily due to its considerable share of National Assembly seats. The creation of dams, the great contrasts in the number of developmental initiatives in each province, and the polarizing tenures of the predominantly Sindh-centric PPP and the Punjab-centric PMLN have further exacerbated the widening gulf between the provinces.

The PTI will have a hard time in rectifying the mistakes of the past and uniting the country. However, they can start by resolving certain glaring issues in each province, which could make their job a whole lot easier, and bring the dissenting federating units closer together.