MULTAN: Veteran politician Makhdoom Javed Hashmi on Wednesday announced that he would launch a movement for the creation of a south Punjab province and demanded that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif establish a commission for the purpose.

He told a press conference that he would contact the Seraiki organisations and other stakeholders for the purpose. He said the members of Janobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz had damaged their cause by joining the PTI.

“I am making a formal announcement to launch a movement for the creation of new province. A federating unit should be created because an administrative unit is not acceptable. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should constitute a commission for the creation of a new province,” he said. He claimed that he had been in favour of creating a separate province for the last 30 years as “this is the only option to keep the country intact.”

“There is not a single province anywhere in the world having the population of 120 million. A separate province should be established having the name of South Punjab or Seraiki province,” he said.

He said there was no chance for Imran Khan to become the prime minister.

He said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be held accountable for levelling the allegation of money laundering of $4.6 billion on Nawaz Sharif. He said he wanted to see the public gathering of Nawaz Sharif in Multan successful.

“Javed Hashmi will stand by Nawaz Sharif through thick and thin,” he said. He said he had yet to receive any invitation to attend the public gathering.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2018