Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021): Pakistan Journal of International Affairs

Failure of Federalism in Pakistan, Lessons for the Future, an International Perspective

Published 2021-06-30


Diverse societies have no option except federalism for the integration and harmony of conflicting ideas of ethnic nationalities. A best suited system of state affairs that devolved the powers constitutionally among the constituent unit is called federalism. In 1947 existing provinces formed the federation of Pakistan with the hope that the provinces will be provided maximum autonomy with democratic norms in the country. Unfortunately after the very few years of the forming of a new federation, democratic process was halted and dictatorship was enforced in the state. Army directly or indirectly remained involved in the matters of government and dictatorship regimes introduced authoritative policies. The main focus of every authoritative regime was on the centralization of powers and on making such decisions which were not in the favor of the state. During the eras of Ayub and Yahya khan such policies were adopted that ruined the confidence between East and West Pakistan which resulted into failure of federalism in 1971. After the disintegration, democratic governments were thrown out by Zia ul Haq and Pervez Musharraf by imposing Martial Laws that gave birth to sectarianism, terrorism and separatist movements within the country. The policies of the dictators jeopardized the harmony of the state. In this study it is drawn that if federalism in Pakistan has to work smoothly for creation of welfare, harmonized and integrated state then democracy with its true spirit is necessary and crucial for Pakistan.