One of the biggest hurdles in the way of good governance and fair distribution of funds in Pakistan is the awfully less number of provinces. One of the most overriding priorities for any government in Pakistan is to create a minimum of 16 provinces in order to broaden the scope of development and nation building. While the existing four provinces should each be portioned into three or four smaller units or provinces, the Fata region, the Northern states of Chitral, Swat, Hunza, and Dir, should be converted into provinces as well. The more the administrative units, the more governance would become efficient and decidedly development oriented.

The existing four provinces are like four states within a state. These four elephantine administrative units create regional and provincial friction bordering on hatred. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, one of the overriding snags in the way of coveted national cohesion and unity are these mega provinces that vie and remain at loggerheads with each other. Once the question of creation of more provinces is addressed, the stability of Pakistan can be guaranteed. Otherwise the clash of interests would keep the center and provinces in mutual bickering and feuding. The breakaway feelings and insurgency that is going on in Balochistan can be nailed and quelled, once and for all, if the constitutional obligation of devolution of powers to the provinces is fulfilled.

Bangladesh that separated from the West Pakistan in 1971, despite being much smaller in area has 6 provinces and 64 districts. Bangladesh has a system of distribution of resources and funds for development that is transparent. The United States of America is one country where such a remarkable model for division of powers is in vogue. The 50 states are almost independent in running their local governments; this model can be followed in Pakistan as far as possible. Pakistan even after 65 years of its existence is devoid of highways between major cities and an efficient railway system. The people suffer from inadequate or deficient civic utilities. The political chaos spills over on the quality of life. The availability of sustained portable water and power, disposal of solid waste, health, education, orderly traffic and good transportation that are components of good city management and a smooth civic life have remained unrealized. The quality of life in Pakistan is abysmally low.

Unfortunately, due to rampant corruption and lack of effective accountability, the funds are misused and misappropriated. The development projects sometimes exist on paper only. The quality of work on buildings, roads and other projects in Pakistan is woefully inferior. The oversight and strict compliance of codes and regulations are more often than not, violated and breached with connivance of the bureaucracy and government officials.

SAEED QURESHI,

Lahore, November 24.