Strengthening Federalism in Pakistan

Pakistan has been a federal state since its creation following Partition in 1947, though this has been interrupted by several periods of military rule.  There are four provinces, plus the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Gilgit-Baltistan region and a federal capital territory. A succession of military and weak civilian administrations battled over national power, resulting in local government with a mainly poor record of service delivery and control over law and order. Cultural, linguistic and other differences between provinces, and enduring conflict over the allocation of financial and natural resources persisted.

To address the challenges caused by the disconnection, or poor connections, between the central government and the provincial governments, and the absence of information about federalism, the Forum of Federations is facilitating a two-half year program to enhance dialogue between the central and provincial governments by increasing the capacity of decision-makers, including political parties, central and provincial civil servants, civil society leaders and the media, to evaluate and analyze options for the creation of a stronger federal system based on international best practices.

To contribute to strengthening of federal democratic governance in Pakistan, the Forum of Federations, in collaboration with the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCE), has launched a program to work with the government, political parties and civil society to promote a better understanding of the values and practices of federalism as well as help in the consideration of potential reforms to federal institutions and practices in Pakistan. The program is designed to help contribute to strengthening of democratic governance through sharing of information and knowledge among experts and practitioners such as elected officials, civil servants, politicians, academics, journalists, civil society leaders, and others.

Program Objectives:

  • To increase the ability of Pakistan’s federal government leaders and stakeholders, and provincial leaders and stakeholders, to discuss, develop, evaluate and analyse federal options,
  • To expand the ability of Pakistani civil society leaders to lead informed discussions on federalism,
  • To broaden networks and partnerships, within Pakistan and between Pakistan and the outside world, foster the exchange of experiences and expertise in federal forms of governance.
  • To create and make accessible in local language a broad, comparative, relevant body of knowledge on federal governance for Pakistani government institutions and civil society.

The Centre for Civic Education Pakistan and Forum of Federations have created four provincial and a national Policy Advisory Group (PAG) on federalism. These groups are a platform of leading experts including political leaders, academics and civil society activists from across the country interested in an informed dialogue and focused discussion on issues vital for strengthening federalism in Pakistan. These groups in their periodic thematic meetings solicit views of stakeholders and arrange conferences to widen the scope of dialogue on analyzing various federal options.

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