Development schemes worth billions of rupees are being approved for South Punjab reportedly on the recommendation of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. While there is no denying that South Punjab needs the attention of the government due to lack of development in the area, it is not the only underdeveloped area in Pakistan. With a special focus on South Punjab, especially when the government is not generating enough revenue is a move that needs to throughly considered. This will not only alienate several sections of the economy, it will also open up a debate on how budget allotment is being considered in times of an economic crunch.

During the last couple of months, we have witnessed the government rigorously trying to find mechanisms to increase revenue and distribute the federal budget according to the needs of the federal and the provincial setups. Due to the increase in military budget and the payment of circular debt, the government has had to slash back the development budget which is impacting the progress of several projects which were initiated during the last democratic regime. Development throughout the country should be the focus of the government because repeating the same mistake of concentrating development in a particular region will add to the argument that the government only has vision for limited vote banks and party members.

Just recently, the debate around the National Finance Commission Award (NFC) was opened up. It was argued that Balochistan along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), due to merger with the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), should be allotted more share in the NFC award. However, several key stakeholders expressed their disagreement with the arrangement. If the government has the capacity to allocate such funds, along with South Punjab, all relevant areas should be included.

At the same time, the government should also keep in mind the excessive criticism targeted towards ex-Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for focusing on their own centre, i.e. Lahore. If the same policy is pursued by CM Buzdar, there will be an excessive amount of opposition which the government needs to justify and move away from as well because policies and ideological frameworks should be for the entire country because a party in power should not be limited to their areas of influence, rather they should include the entire population in their vision, especially after criticising another party for the same actions.