The provinces disagree on everything
Pakistan’s provinces are hopelessly divided on several major domestic issues – on wheat distribution, water distribution, gas distribution and federal funds distribution. The Pakistani Army’s military operations in Waziristan, part of Musharraf’s deliverables in the war against al Qaeda, have caused deep resentment in the North West Frontier Province; while the plans to establish military cantonments and other development projects in Balochistan have caused the Baloch people to rise in open rebellion.
In the latest instance, provincial assemblies in the heartland provinces of Punjab and Sindh have supported Musharraf over the uniform issue, while the NWFP has rejected it. Balochistan may not manage to get a pro-Musharraf resolution out without a major political intervention by the ISI. Such an intervention could end up being counterproductive and feedthe popular dissatisfaction that manifests itself in the form of support for Balochi separatists.
Ayaz Amir suggests that the Pakistani army’s continued dominance of the political scene, after being forced (by the United States) to pursue a less hostile policy towards India, is what is driving the wedge between the provinces.
Peace with India should mean turning some of our swords into ploughshares and reducing the role of the military in national life. It shouldn’t mean dismantling one hostile frontier only to erect it in some other place.[Dawn]
In order to stop the wedge from sinking any deeper, Musharraf will find it attractive to use the good old India bogey to both keep his provinces together and himself in business. It is just a matter of time.