LAHORE, Jan 28: The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) has called Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP’s) move to bifurcate Punjab into two provinces a ‘ploy’ to delay the forthcoming general elections.
At a meeting at Model Town on Monday, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif decided to resist the move at all forum and not to let the PPP take advantage of, what he called, this “political stunt”.
“The stunt to create Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab is to delay the elections. Making one province by including Bahawalpur and south Punjab is against the spirit of the Punjab Assembly resolution,” Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said while briefing the journalists after the meeting. “We are determined to make Bahawalpur and south Punjab province in the light of the PA resolution. Bahawalpur and Multan will be the capitals of Bahawalpur and south Punjab districts,” he said. Mr Sharif said: “I want to tell the people of the south Punjab that Zardari and
company are not interested in creating BJP and in fact he (Zardari) wants to use it as election slogan.” The meeting decided that a constitutional amendment would be brought in the lower house for carving out two new federating units – Bahawalpur and south Punjab – in the light of the Punjab Assembly resolution and Hazara province in the KP if the PPP and its allies tabled a bill for the creation of Bahawalpur-Janoobi Punjab. A source in the PML-N told Dawn that the participants were unanimous on the point that the PPP was smartly using the card of Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab to cover more political ground in the south. And to deal with it the PML-N should publicly declare that it would try to carve two new provinces out of Punjab and creation of only Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab would not address the people of the Bahawalpur districts. The source added the meeting had also decided to hold demonstrations in the Bahawalpur districts after taking other political parties onboard there against the proposed Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab. Without the support of the PML-N in parliament the Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab bill can not be approved as the PPP-led government needs two-third majority. “Since this issue will remain a political stunt to gain maximum political mileage by the PPP, the PML-N has activated its leaders from the south to negate the propaganda,” he said. Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz told Dawn that the parliamentary commission on new provinces had time and against asked the Punjab Assembly speaker to give two names from the PML-N for inclusion (in the commission) but he did not care. “The PML-N deliberately boycotted the commission so that it could have an excuse to tell the people that it was kept out of the process,” he said.