Subnational Empowerment for a Cohesive Federation. A Country Study of Constitutional Asymmetry in Pakistan
This chapter presents the case of Pakistan, which is also broadly illustrative of the issues of subnational empowerment in countries where political systems and constitutionalism are still in the process of consolidation. The analysis endeavors to provide a substantive overview and historical underpinnings of constitutional asymmetries in Pakistan at the federal, provincial, and inter-provincial levels, especially in the context of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The analysis concludes that political and socio-economic disparities between the federating units are more instrumental and mutually reinforcing than the weaker forms of constitutional asymmetries characterizing it. While recent developments of merging previously autonomous regions with federating units signal toward reduced constitutional asymmetries, the cohesiveness of the federation and the inter-provincial disparities remain a challenge. Further constitutionally embedded fiscal, political, and administrative decentralization to regional and local levels offer great prospects for the establishment of responsive and effective governance structures, and a more cohesive federation.