The 18th Constitutional Amendment: Glue or Solvent for Nation Building and Citizenship in Pakistan?
The almost unanimous passage of a landmark consensus constitutional amendment—the 18th Constitutional Amendment—restored Pakistan’s constitution to its original intent of a decentralized federation of provinces as envisaged in the 1956 (two provinces) and 1973 (four provinces) constitutions. This article takes a closer look at the provisions of this amendment and highlights both the potentials and pitfalls of the new constitutional order for good governance in Pakistan. It argues that the amendment represents a step forward but encompasses several missteps in creating a harmonious political and economic union. The 18th Amendment has reinforced an outmoded “pot-belly” model (federalism of provinces) whereas an “hourglass” (federalism of local governments) model is more suited to Pakistan‘s circumstances. Major fundamental reforms are needed that right-size the federal and provincial governments, strengthen local governance, enforce fiscal discipline and citizen-based accountability for service delivery performance on all orders of government, dismantle provincial barriers to factor mobility and internal trade, and restrain beggar-thy-neighbor policies and unaccountable governance by “empowered provinces” to mitigate the unintended adverse consequences of the 18th amendment for nation building and citizenship in Pakistan.
Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): Special Edition (September)
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