Thursday, April 22, 2010

Movement for restoration of the Bahawalpur province!

Demand for new provinces, or smaller administrative units is getting quite popular in some regions of Pakistan. Reasons vary. Demand of Hazara province is ethnic, Seraiki province is linguistic, and some purely demand bigger provinces to be divided into smaller units so that they can be administered better. But there is one demand which is unique and different from all other such demand. And that is of the Bahawalpur province. They don't ask for creation of a new province for them, instead they want their former province, the province of Bahawalpur to be reinstated. They want their former 'administrative unit' to be made functional again.

Some facts about the Bahawalpur province:

  • The state acceded to Pakistan on 7 October 1947 after an agreement between the founder maker of Pakistan, Jinnah sahab, and the Nawab of Bahawalpur. In the agreement, it was clearly stated that the state will remain a separate administrative and federating unit of Pakistan, a province.
  • When the state government was officially abolished, On 30th April, 1951 the Pakistan Government and the Ruler of Bahawalpur entered into an important agreement which put the State on the same footing as provinces under the Government of India Act of 1935 in the matter of legislation and administration.
  • Provincial elections were conducted in 1951, and a forty-nine member legislative assembly was formed, which began functioning in 1952.The first chief minister of Bahawalpur province was Makhdoomzada Syed Hassan Mehmood.
  • In 1954-55, the provincial assembly of Bahawalpur presented a surplus budget of rupees 20 crores, with a surplus of over 4 crores. It was the only province of Pakistan with a surplus budget.
  • The provincial assembly was functional from 1952, till 14 October 1955, when it was merged into the West Pakistan province, or the 'One Unit.' Bahawalpur entered One Unit with a condition that when the West Pakistan province will be abolished, Bahawalpur would retain it's provincial status.
  • It is a historic fact that before One Unit Bahawalpur had a provincial status, and Bahawalpur merged with a status of a province with West Pakistan at the time of One Unit. But when One Unit was broken on 30th March, 1970, Bahawalpur was merged into Punjab through an illegal and immoral executive order by General Yahya Khan, subsiding all the previous agreements.
  • Bahawalpur is one fourth of Punjab in terms of area, and 13% of Punjab's total population.
  • 51% of it's population lives under the poverty line, which is highest in any region of Punjab. On the contrary it was among the higher per capita regions in India before partition. Today it is Punjab's poorest region by far.
  • The only river that irrigated Bahawalpur was given to India under Indus Water treaty. Some say it was sold to India for 35 billion rupees, but that's debatable. After the treaty, Bahawalpur province was to get water from the other rivers of Punjab and it was allocated a share. It is on record that Bahawalpur hasn't, in any year since then, received more that 30% of it's allocated water. In the 1991 water accord, 70% of Bahawalpur's water was given to other regions.
  • The infant mortality rate in Bahawalpur is 142 for every 1000 births, highest in Punjab. As compared to that in rest of the Punjab it is 72 deaths per 1000.
  • Literacy rate of Bahawalpur is 34%, where as in the rest of Punjab it is above 57%.
  • If Bahawalpur province's last provincial is to be taken as a base, it's budget today after adjusting inflation and devaluation of currency (if we assume that income level of the province hasn't increased even one bit) it's budget today should be around 65 billion rupees. But it gets only 5 billion, or less per annum.
  • Bahawalpur province produces 44% of Punjab's total cotton, 22% wheat, 18% sugarcane, 20% rice, 45% mango and 35% of the total live stock.
  • The region was given a 12% quota in the civil services, which has now been reduced to 3%.
The most interesting fact, by far, is that the Bahawalpur state donated rupees 6 crore (almost 50 billion of today) to the infant state of Pakistan which was used to pay the wages of the state machinery for the first six months. Jinnah sahab's official car, that he used as the Governor General of Pakistan, was also a gift from the State of Bahawalpur.

Can all these facts be discredited? I don't think that a sane and a patriotic citizen of this Land of Pure would or should oppose the restoration of the province. The movement has a very strong case, now it's just a matter of effort and time that the dream would see the light of the day. I hope I live to witness that.

Pakistan zindabad.

Car gifted by the Ameer of Bahawalpur,
Nawab Sadiq Mohammad Khan
to the Quaid, Mohammad Ali Jinnah


  1. //I hope I live to witness that.//

    Why don't you consider spearheading a movement?!

  2. You have done a great job in copy pasting facts..But what's your rationale behind restoring a separate state? That it contributes so much to Punjab but gets back little?

    The problem is then with your local administration or population that prefers agriculture over education (just saying). Getting a separate state would make it worse because then you would be fighting with Punjab over water and while your literacy and education levels wouldn't go up, agricultural productivity will come down.

  3. "On the contrary it was among the higher per capita regions in India before partition. Today it is Punjab's poorest region by far."

    Speaks very much for the whole of Pakistan, not just Bahawalpur..

  4. It's not really an issue of local administration, it is, but on a very smaller level. The administration of the Punjab province has mostly been people from the upper Punjab. So their attention is more towards the north, and south is ignored. We lack basic infrastructure of all kinds, so how would industry grow? 1/4th of the entire province's share in budget of over 500 billion is only 5 billion. Do you think that is enough for the growth? It's not an emotional issue, it is a matter of governance and administration. Plus, we aren't demanding a new province, we just want our old province reinstated. About the fights, well provinces do have issues among them but then we have institutions like NFC or National Finance Award, Council of Common interests etc, and differences can be sorted out. It's not a big deal.

  5. Ayyo, I'm too small to spearhead such a movement, but me and my family are doing whatever little that we can for the movement.

  6. Being from Bahawalpur i can very well understand your sentiments.

    "I hope i live to witness that."

    Not a day goes by where i do not wish and pray for the same.

    Very much a part of this movement now, ready to fight for what was taken away from us through an illegal order of a dictator.

    What the Ameer of Bahawalpur Nawab Sadiq M. Khan Abbasi did for Pakistan and what the latter administrations of Pakistan did to his State, this is not how one treats those who were kind and benevolent in the time of their need and despair.

    Have no wish for a better future, if somehow can achieve and attain that what we had in the past, the golden days of the Great State of Bahawalpur.

    Dreams do not have a bondage on them, one day we will reach to the promise land.

    Usman Malik.

  7. Malik sahab, ultimately it's upon us to spread the awareness among both, people of Bahawalpur and rest of Pakistan, so that this movement can get support of entire nation.

    But Inshallah we will one day live this dream.

  8. On the contrary it was among the higher per capita regions in India before partition. Today it is Punjab's poorest region by far."

    Speaks very much for the whole of Pakistan, not just Bahawalpur..

    what kind of lunatic made that comment

    literacy rates,industry,mills and graduates have all increased in Pakistan.Under the british , the land that now is pakistan was left undeveloped and much poorer than main regions of had less colleges,less industry and less rail tracks than central india

    Pakistan has benefited enormously from independence the same cant be said for bihar,sikkim,assam and Indian occupied Kashmir

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  9. The basis for the demand of the populace of our very important region is legitimate...i REALLY WANT TO PLAY MY ROLE TO SUPPORT THIS MOVEMENT.

  10. ur last sentence really makes sentimental......nd my wish to...