KARACHI: Senator Farhatullah Babar, who is also the presidential spokesperson, was elected chairperson of the parliamentary commission for carving out of new provinces out of Punjab during its first meeting which was held at the Parliament House in Islamabad on Tuesday, DawnNews reported.
The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) stuck to its decision of boycotting the session.
Speaking to media representatives after the commission's meeting, Babar said the commission had been mandated to reinstate the province of Bahawalpur and to carve out a province out of southern Punjab.
Babar moreover said that the commission would prepare a report in a month's time on the matter and present it in the parliament.
He said that efforts were underway to convince the PML-N to participate in the commission's proceedings.
Speaking to media representatives, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Khurshid Shah said that the National Assembly would pass a resolution by a two-thirds majority for the creation of new provinces.
Moreover, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar said that the PML-N should also have participated in the meeting and should not have lost this historic moment.
The controversial 14-member parliamentary commission was formed by National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza on Aug 16 in pursuance of a message received from President Asif Ali Zardari and authorisation by the assembly on July 11.
Her announcement named 12 members only, drawn from the two houses of parliament, and said two members would be nominated by the Punjab Assembly speaker.
Inclusion of the three PML-N members in the commission had surprised and confused the party and a day after its announcement, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, accused the speaker of unilaterally nominating his party’s legislators without consulting the party.
Chaudhry Nisar rejected the commission and called for raising his party’s representation to 50 per cent, contending that since the proposed body was meant only for carving two provinces out of Punjab, the PML-N must have a greater say by virtue of being the biggest party in the provincial assembly. He had also questioned inclusion of the MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar, ANP’s Haji Adeel and JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, saying their parties had no representation in Punjab.