IT was inevitable that after the controversial renaming of NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pandoras Box of ethnic exclusivity would raise its ugly head in a violent fashion. Now we have the people of Hazara demanding their own province, simply because their ethnicity is not represented in the new name for what was the NWFP. The fires of further division have been and continue to be stoked irresponsibly by political leaders, simply for their own interest. We have an acceleration for demands for a Seraiki province and even Bahawalpur as a province. And one has yet to examine the dangerous fissiparous trends that can arise in Sindh - especially with the MQM already seeking their own pound of provincial flesh out of this province. In such an environment, the President, as the head of state representing the country as a whole, should be encouraging unity through diversity, not giving credence to a further breaking up of the country into yet more provinces. Unfortunately, President Zardari is going in the wrong direction. In Bahawalpur he gave a certain legitimacy to the demand for making this Division of Punjab a province by stating that this demand should be taken up by Parliament. The argument that in pre-partition days Bahawalpur was a separate state is no logic to make it a separate province now. By this absurd reasoning we would soon have a myriad of state-provinces within Pakistan. While one is all for decentralisation of administration and grass roots democracy, creating provinces simply means more expenditure on bureaucracy and perks for MPs and so on. Instead, one can look at giving local government more powers right at the Union Council level and perhaps having Divisions as administrative units rather than provinces But these are issues that need a thorough debate and at present the country is confronting far graver issues in terms of rising costs and scarcities of basic commodities; and in terms of the IMF effectively seeking to put Pakistan in perpetual darkness through skyrocketing prices of electricity so that we never need to demand energy, nuclear or conventional, from either the US or Iran More central to the issue of breaking up the provinces is the attempt to balkanize Pakistan - which has been on the agenda of the US post-9/11 as reflected in that telling article Blood Borders and which many suspect has also been the old NAP agenda now perhaps transferred to its successor party the ANP. That is why we need to guard against this new fissiparous trend that has been introduced into the body politic as a result of unholy compromises made to get the 18th Amendment through without a proper debate within Parliament. We need to have our diverse people coming together in an ethnic rainbow, not moving apart in a form of ethnic apartheid of separate even if equal development.