THE Concerned Citizens of Pakistan Society (CCPS) condemns the government’s hasty move to create a new BJP province in Punjab. The government initiating such a bill just before the general elections is a mala fide ploy to gain political mileage in southern Punjab.
To make a new province is not like building a house of cards. It requires a great deal of hard work and planning by experts and consensus amongst the citizens and their representatives who should come with such a mandate.
The process of making new provinces should be initiated by respective provincial assemblies which would be elected in the forthcoming elections. Contesting parties should provide detailed proposals in their manifestoes as to how they envisage the formation of new provinces.
Provinces should be carved out from different provinces of the country if such a need exists, and not out of Punjab only. Half-baked and haphazard efforts to create a new province at this juncture for political gains would facilitate the breakup of the country.
Second, the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued a directive that no development funds should be distributed at this stage. Reportedly billions of rupees have been diverted to Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s constituency. These exorbitant amounts will only be used to buy votes and secure his election. The proposed bill, coupled with the government’s refusal to freeze parliamentarians’ development funds close to fresh elections, amounts to pre-poll rigging. It shows the government’s intention to influence, delay and maim the impending electoral process.
We urge the Election Commission of Pakistan to make it mandatory for every candidate to file a complete statement of his/her assets and liabilities for the past three years, along with verified copies of income-tax returns filed over the past three years.
The nomination papers of candidates who fail to make such disclosures should be rejected.
NASIRA IQBAL President, CCPS