ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Commission on Creation of New Provinces in Punjab in its first formal meeting here on Wednesday decided to hold in-camera sessions and to invite all stakeholders for ascertaining their viewpoints before finalising its recommendations.

The commission has also decided to call Law Minister Farooq H. Naek and officials of his ministry in its next meeting to be held on Friday to seek their opinion on technical and legal issues relating to the creation of new provinces in Punjab in line with the two different resolutions adopted by the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly.

Members of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N continued their boycott of the meeting presided over by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar and attended by six members. The commission held its first formal meeting on the day the Punjab Assembly through a resolution rejected its formation and demanded a new national commission with a mandate to decide parameters for creating new provinces all over the country on an administrative basis.

Those who attended the meeting on Wednesday were Syeda Sughra Imam, Arif Aziz Sheikh and Jamshed Dasti of PPP, Haji Mohammad Adeel of Awami National Party, Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q and Asif Hasnain of MQM. Mr Hasnain attended the meeting in the absence of Dr Farooq Sattar.

Sources said the commission had agreed that a member could nominate someone to attend the meeting in his or her place. The substitute member will not have the right to vote.

The commission, according to one of its members, decided to invite all stakeholders, including the local political leadership from Seraiki region, eminent personalities and representatives of people from different walks of life belonging to south Punjab, so that its report truly reflects the people’s aspirations.

He said the commission would listen to arguments and viewpoints of those in favour of restoration of Bahawalpur province and those who were for one large South Punjab province. He said the members discussed the broad outline of rules of business and terms of reference of the commission at the meeting which continued for more than two and a half hours.

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