Academic journal article The Lahore Journal of Economics

Provincial Rights and Responsibilities

Academic journal article The Lahore Journal of Economics

Provincial Rights and Responsibilities

Article excerpt


This article suggests that Pakistan requires a different development paradigm. The analysis begins by giving a quick overview of some of the larger economies of the region and assesses the divisions that have developed between the people as a result of national strategies. The paper goes on to present a brief history of the previous attempts at decentralization in Pakistan and a discussion of how these were thwarted. This is followed by a discussion of how decentralization can be successful in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment and the 7th NFC Award.

Keywords: Development, policy, decentralization, Pakistan.

JEL Classification: O20, H77, O23.

I. Introduction

The main purpose of this brief presentation is to suggest that Pakistan needs a different development paradigm to deal with its many economic, social, and political problems. It needs to be different from the one followed in recent years which, after several years of high growth, plunged the country into a deep crisis. This manifested itself in many different ways. The rate of economic progress slowed down, the incidence of poverty increased, and domestic terrorism increased to the point that almost all foreign travel has stopped. An environment has been created in which inter-regional, intraprovincial, inter-economic classes, and sectarian conflicts have risen to the surface. These have come with heavy economic, social, and political costs that will further set back progress on a number of different fronts. An important part of my suggested paradigm is the notion that one way of rebalancing the economy and the social and political systems is to bring government closer to the people. This will take more than one amendment to the constitution that was thoroughly disfigured by a number of authoritarian rulers that governed the country for long periods of time. Decentralization is one of the outcomes of the 18th Amendment but it will need much more than that to address the problems the country faces today. Highlighting these and suggesting some ways of dealing them is the main theme of this paper. I will divide my paper into several parts as follows:

* A quick overview of the performance of the economy by comparing it with some of the other large economies in the region. Here, I will provide some assessment of the divisions that have been sharpened among the regions and between the people as a consequence of the strategy that was followed.

* A brief history of how previous attempts to decentralize the authority of the government were thwarted by a succession of leaders and some of the institutions that have dominated the Pakistani political scene.

* An indication of what needs to be done in order to make decentralization work now that some of the constitutional impediments have been removed by the 18th Amendment.

* Identification of some of the lessons the country can learn from the performance of other large federal systems in the world.

II. Pakistan's recent economic performance and the need for a new development paradigm

Pakistan is an economic mess today. It is falling behind other large Asian countries with every passing day. In 2010, the Chinese economy is likely to expand at rate of 8.8 percent; India's by 6.7 percent. Both countries will most likely improve on these rates in 2011. The Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow by at least 10 percent; India's by 8.8 percent. In the years that follow, according to the budget statement made by Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee in late February, India hopes to climb onto a growth trajectory that will deliver GDP increases of 10 percent a year for several years. With the population increasing by 1.4 percent a year and declining, GDP per capita will increase by at least 8.6 percent a year, doubling every eight years. Both countries have achieved these extraordinary results by integrating in different ways parts of their economies with the global system. …

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