[Editor’s note: The NWFP colonial-era name in Pakistan has been discarded with this week’s constitutional reforms in favor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The new name reflects the dominant ethnic group and strategic Khyber pass. Changing Up Pakistan has a good backgrounder. Time to update Natural Earth’s 1st order admin!]
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed sweeping constitutional reforms that sharply curtail the president’s power and have at least the potential to stabilize the nation’s habitually turbulent political system.
The changes wipe away a host of measures introduced by military dictators in recent decades that had eroded the power of parliament and centralized authority in the hands of the president. Under the reforms, Pakistan’s prime minister and its provincial governments are expected to have greater latitude in running the country, which has become a central battleground for the United States in the fight against religious extremist groups. [...]
One of the most contentious elements of the reform package will give a new name to the North-West Frontier Province, which has been at the center of militancy in Pakistan in recent years. The old name — a relic of colonial times — was despised by many Pashtuns, who thought it did not reflect their status as the province’s dominant ethnic group. The new name, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is intended to solve that problem, but it has sparked demonstrations in recent days by the area’s ethnic minorities, who say it makes them feel unwelcome in their home province.