The other view
THIS is apropos of the letter ‘Partitioning Punjab’ by Kunwar Idris.
The letter writer said that the Quaid-i-Azam intended a confederal arrangement for Muslim majority areas at the time of the partition of united India. I find it hard to understand what Mr Idris wants to prove. Did the Quaid want a confederation of united India or a sovereign homeland for Muslims?
I think the Quaid wanted a sovereign, resilient and federation of Pakistan and not a confederation of united India which itself would have negated the demand of partition. Atrocities by Hindus and Sikhs were inevitable.
As far as the partition of Punjab is concerned, it is a long-awaited demand of the underprivileged majority hailing from southern Punjab. It should be based on administrative lines and not on ethnic or linguistic lines, though the language comes under this demand just a little bit. The main causes for this demand are the administrative and organisational red-tapism practiced now.
A friend from Multan told me that travelling to Lahore from Multan required some 14 hours’ journey, besides accommodation and fare charges. A difficult task indeed for an ordinary person if he wants to meet the chief minister in Lahore.
Moreover, the infrastructure, per capita income, etc., are substandard. People suffer from an inferiority complex.
Most countries like the US, China and India have divided their areas in small provinces, making progress by leaps and bounds. What is wrong with us? The problem with us is that every reasonable and rational demand is exploited for political point-scoring and conspiracy theories whether it is the Kalabagh dam or new provinces.
Partitioning Punjab is a late but good decision on the following grounds:
It will initiate a new era of progress, prosperity and responsibility among the incumbents that if it is not capable enough to generate its own revenue, it can then be merged back into Punjab.
New infrastructure, jobs and education facilities would be initialed. The people will get their lost identity again and there will be ‘we feeling’, and I think this will be a tiny but great emotional pleasure.
Merely dividing a province does not create hostilities and alienation. Retrospectively, it is the abrogation of these just demands which creates mayhem in the country.