With the deaths in Abbottabad of protesters against the name change of the province to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, there has subsided almost as soon as it arose, the demand for a separate Hazara province. The arising of the demand reflected only too well the fact that all of the present provinces, which are almost, but not quite, the provinces inherited from the British Raj, contain significant minorities which have over the years demanded some share in governance, but the reluctance to change boundaries has prevented any tackling of the problem. The Hazara problem of the former NWFP is well known, but it should almost be as well known that the Pashtuns are unique in Pakistan in constituting the majority in one province, and the minority in another. It is not well known enough, or rather not well enough remembered, that Baluchistan has a strong Pashtun minority, to the extent that it has supported a political party, the Pukhtu-nkhwa Milli Awami Party, which has frequently sent a member to the National Assembly, first Abdus Samad Achakzai, and then his son Mahmood. It must be remembered that a lot of what is now Baluchistan province was the princely state of Kalat, and British Baluchistan, which included those areas of Afghanistan conquered by the British at the time of the First Anglo-Afghan War of the 19th century, and which were Pushtu-speaking. When Baluchistan entered and then exited West Pakistan, it found itself rid of Kalat, which was pitched into the province. Because it contained so many Baluch, the province itself was Baluch for the first time, and the Pushtuns of Baluchistan looked to the NWFP as the province to join. The PKMAP had a choice, but did not propagate rejoining Afghanistan. However, it became a party committed to redrawing Baluchistans provincial boundaries. The NWFP was not conceived by anyone as a Pashtun homeland. It fell into British hands as part of the spoils of victory in the Sikh Wars that followed the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and formed part of the Punjab until it was placed under a chief commissioner, and finally made a full-fledged province. However, Swat, Dir and Chitral were also recognized as states at this time. As a result of all this history, the NWFP ended up with the Hazara Division, with its headquarters at Abbottabad. In the run-up to the Partition, the Khudai Khidmatgar or Redshirts emerged, with an ill-thought-out Pashtun-nationalist agenda, which saw the Redshirts end up in Congress, with their founder and chief Abdul Ghaffar Khan being known as the Frontier Gandhi. Though some of the Hazarawals are ethnic Pashtuns, not all are, and linguistically none are. Their demand for a separate province ignores their linguistic links with both the Punjabs Potohar Plateau, and part (the Pakistani part) of the old Kashmir State, now illegally and forcibly occupied by India. Such a province would prove a base for the fragmentation of the region and attempts to draw them into a Potohari-speaking province. The new province would also suffer from the disadvantage of not having the headquarters of Potohari there, which is probably Rawalpindi. However, plans to break up the Punjab are not centred on Potohari, but Seraiki. There is one Seraiki movement based on the old Bahawalpur State, which was brought into West Pakistan, and then retained by the Punjab as a civil division consisting of three districts, which subsist to this day as such. There is another centred on Multan, and the phrase 'South Punjab is actually this area, which is basically an expanded version of the old Bahawalpur State, but with its headquarters outside it. There is a Seraiki Subah Party, but it would be an exaggeration to describe it as a movement, and it certainly has not been a vote-getter in previous elections. However, the province with the worst minority problem has got to be Sindh, with a minority large enough to claim a share in government after every election, which had been disguised by the fact that it spoke the language that was official, but acknowledged by no province as its own: Urdu. What made matters worse for Muhajirs was that they had no provincial identity in a post-1971, post-Bangladesh Pakistan where provincial identity was perhaps more important than, certainly as important as, national. A complicating factor had been the creation of post-West Pakistan provincial identities, which had left Urdu-speakers limited to Sindh, unless they chose an identity, which left them a minority in the province they chose. Because of this, they are the only provincialist party to gain an electoral presence, a presence strong enough for them to be the partners of every ruling coalition for the last 20 years, but never strong enough for the chief ministership. There has been a separate-province demand, but calling it a treasonous conspiracy probably killed it off. However, one of the results of this divide has been that Sindh has no Seraiki Subah movement, though Seraiki-speakers are numerous. In fact, Punjabi politicians from Seraiki-speaking areas used it to speak with Sindhi politicians whose native tongue it was, but as a Sindhi dialect. A reasonably well known linguistic phenomenon is the single dialect that belongs to two languages, and this occurs in Punjabi and Sindhi in the expected geographic location. Another thing that Sindh has escaped has been the weight of pre-Partition history, such as that brought about by the problems of dealing with princely states, or of drawing boundaries afresh. Therefore, if the linguistic principle is accepted for provinces in Pakistan, there would be eight provinces in Pakistan, not four. And every province would face division, not just Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The linguistic principle has been applied in India, which began creating new states soon after Partition because it inherited the bulk of the princely states, which it incorporated into new states. Of the divided provinces it inherited at Partition, it turned its Punjab into three states and a union territory, but left West Bengal as it was. However, one problem with the linguistic principle is that even dialects are elevated to the level of a language, like Bhojpuri in Bihar, in the hope of winning statehood. In fact, the renaming of NWFP by Pakistan represents the first revision by Pakistan of the British-given names, or even boundaries, apart from its dealing with the princely states. The movement in Abbottabad is not thus a revolutionary movement, as much as a conservative one, dedicated to retaining the old name. Now that the 18th Amendment has even received assent, only another amendment can bring about a change. In the other provinces, there are no movements for changes of name, also creation of new provinces. This should either be stopped or accepted, even if the principle involved, the linguistic, is not necessarily a very good one. Email: maniazi@nation.com.pk