As per the definition of Ronald L. Watts, an expert on the subject, federalism can be termed as a system consisting of federating units and a government at the center, where both have the power to legislate in their respective domains determined by the constitution and citizens. This implies that federalism empowers provinces by giving them the power to make laws for administrating units. It is a formula for promoting coordination between the center and provinces as well as maintaining a stable political system. The idea is to share the power of governing in accordance with the constitution. Every country has its particularities which require a specific model as compared to the working definitions of federalism practiced across the globe. By addressing the definitional ambiguities associated with Pakistan’s federalism, the impediments can be managed. The purpose of underlining one of the available definitions of federalism is to refer to the myriad of problems emanating from adopting an interpretation of others. In simple words, redefining the intricate details of federalism is required for narrowing down the problems of federalism as well as incorporating significant elements of a stable structure in Pakistan. The problem with adopting available versions of federalism without any modification is that it creates operational issues in terms of its implementation. For instance, the federation in Pakistan cannot be equated with the British form due to differences in demographics, economy and polity, among others. Therefore, an indigenous definition of federalism should be developed according to the contemporary problems in Pakistan. Additionally, new studies on the subject of federalism are required for emphasizing an inclusive identity as well as cultural diversity. Viewing the federation as a solution rather than a rival of the provincial units is needed Specifically, the lack of transparency between the center and provinces adds to the challenges of federalism in Pakistan. For example, it becomes difficult to assess the division of power between the center and provinces if it is not based on a transparent system. The apprehensions regarding the abuse of power by center are often highlighted by the provinces; especially the divisions of assets, but provincial mechanisms of efficacy are also weak. While it is hard to quantify the trust deficit between provinces and center, however, addressing the prominent issues of contention, for example, water management and division of assets can nurture the process of dialogue and engagement. The problems of federalism are not only the responsibility of a center, but it includes all the constituents. The absence of clear demarcation of power between the provinces and the center can be overcome by debating over it. The elected representatives at the provincial level can highlight their issues by engaging with the center. The role of Council of Common Interests (CCI), for example, is to mediate the matters of power sharing between the center and provinces; however, if one takes into account the drawbacks, it reflects the need for accelerating the output of the body. Although, the CCI works under the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination after the 18th Amendment, is it adequate to overcome the obstacles in the way of resolving the matters of agricultural income tax, oil and gas? This is not to downplay the recent success of the CCI on first National Water Policy; the point is to advance the competence of the federation. Viewing the center and constituent units as a competitor for power is not only problematic for them both but it weakens the overall system. My concern is why are we stuck in the quagmire of recurring challenges when it comes to governance structure rather than resolving them? Do we really understand the essence of federalism and how it facilitates the smooth functioning of the country at the national level? Have we worked on underscoring the benefits of making the federation stronger to the provinces? Learning about federalism in Pakistan in the backdrop of the upcoming general elections and Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) has become crucial. Viewing the federation as a solution rather than a rival of the provincial units is needed. The connection between citizens and strong federation should not be ignored. Even though, 12 percent increase in the voter turnout was observed in the General Election of 2013, however, there is still room for improvement in terms of increasing the ownership and participation of the citizens of Pakistan. For one, the empowerment of people in electing the representatives is not strong because the election process is faltering. In case of rural areas, illiteracy and unawareness lead to manipulation of people. As a result, people end up casting votes based on caste or tribal affiliation. To conclude, federalism in Pakistan can be strengthened by redefining it in accordance with the new challenges. Lastly, educating people with respect to their rights, especially through the power of vote at the national level is important. DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy or any other Government institution The Writer is a researcher at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) Published in Daily Times, May 21st 2018.