MULTAN: Three MPAs on Wednesday quit the PML-N and joined Janobi Punjab Soba Mahaaz (JPSM).

Karamdad Wahla who was elected an MPA from PP-219 in Jahanian, Khanewal, announced joining the new front at the residence of Sohail Shah Khaga, son of former MNA Qamarul Zaman Shah Khaga, at Wahniwal, Khanewal. Former MPA Pir Jalil Shah also announced joining the JPSM.

Speaking at a press conference in Multan, MPA Muhammad Zeeshan Gurmani from PP-252, Muzaffargarh, and Sardar Qaisar Abbas Magsi, MPA from PP-264, Layyah, also announced ending their political affiliation with the ruling PML-N.

Tahir Bashir Cheema, Rana Muhammad Qasim Noon, Chaudhry Tahir Iqbal, Basit Sultan Bukhari and Chaudhry Samiul Haq of the JPSM were present.

Mr Magsi alleged that the parliamentarians from southern Punjab were always humiliated by the PML-N leaders.

Gurmani said the creation of new province would help end backwardness of the area. He said he was elected as an independent candidate and later joined the PML-N but the leaders’ attitude towards people of south Punjab was disappointing.

He said creation of new province is the need of the hour and it should have been created 15 to 20 years ago. “Now no one can stop the movement,” he said.

Tahir Bashir Cheema said they wanted a separate province and had no concern with the PPP or the PTI. He said after winning the election the front would enter into a political alliance with the party that would have a clear stance and framework for this purpose.

He said the chief minister should go for a referendum over the issue if he thinks the people of this area do not want their separate province.

“If the legislation to end the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif can be done within half an hour, why the new province can’t be created through parliament,” he said. He said none of them would rejoin the PML-N.

Chaudhry Tahir Iqbal said the first priority of the people of south Punjab is the creation of new province and no party would be able to oppose it. The mass contact drive to muster support for the cause was already under way, he said.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he had contacted the leadership of Janobi Punjab Soba Mahaaz on the direction of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. He told media that he would welcome the people of the front for endorsing the PPP point of view over the creation of new province. He said south Punjab had always played a vital role in the country’s politics and the PPP was the only party that recognised the concerns of the people of the area.

He said there was no need to announce the budget for the whole year.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018