One Unit Policy

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One-Unit was the title of a scheme launched by the federal government of Pakistan to merge the four provinces of West Pakistan into one homogenous unit, as a counterbalance against the numerical domination of the ethnic Bengalis of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The One Unit policy was announced by Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra on 22 November 1954.

History[change | edit source]

The province of West Pakistan was created in 14 October 1955 by the merger of the provinces, states and Tribal Areas of the western wing. The province was composed of twelve divisions and the provincial capital was established at Lahore. The province of East Pakistan, consisted of East Bengal, (now Bangladesh) was renamed East Pakistan with the provincial capital at Dacca. The federal government moved the country's capital in 1959 from Karachi to Rawalpindi (serving as provisional capital until Islamabad was finished), whilst the federal legislature moved to Dacca.

West Pakistan formed a single and united political entity but with marked linguistic and ethnic distinctions. The One Unit policy was regarded as an administrative reform that would reduce expenditure and help eliminate ethnic and parochial prejudices. However, with the military coup of 1958, trouble loomed for the province when the office of Chief Minister was abolished and the President took over executive powers for West Pakistan. The province of West Pakistan was dissolved on July 1, 1970 by President General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan.

Criticisms[change | edit source]

Ethno-nationalists were against the unity and amalgamation of the federating units(the many princely states and provinces of the western wing) as West Pakistan. The actual author of the plan is alleged to be General and later President Ayub Khan.