PPP calls for immediate meeting of the South Punjab task force

September 27, 2018

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A view of the Punjab Assembly. — File
A view of the Punjab Assembly. — File

The PPP on Thursday asked the government to immediately call an official meeting of a task force created to expedite the formation of a province in south Punjab.

Talking to DawnNews outside the Punjab Assembly, PPP lawmaker Ali Haider Gilani said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had received votes in the elections on the promise of a new South Punjab province.

Gilani recalled that the ruling party had promised to kick-start the process for the creation of a separate South Punjab province in 100 days; however, with 39 days of their administration already having passed, the PTI had not yet called the first meeting of the task force.

Gilani also added that the PPP had reservations about the inclusion of Makhdoom Khusro Pervez and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the task force.

PTI lawmaker Mohammad Mohsin Leghari had on August 15 submitted a resolution seeking the federal government's initiation of the process for the creation of a Southern Punjab province.

The PTI had added the creation of a south Punjab province in its manifesto in May this year.

Separately, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also raised the issue in April.

“We will make a separate province (out of south Punjab) and end the deprivation of this belt if you people support us,” he had told a political gathering in Multan.

PPP lawmaker Makhdoom Usman, referring to Bilawal's remarks, called on the government to urgently hold a meeting of the task force.

He said that other political parties should be shown the road map that PTI has come up with for the creation of the south Punjab province in the divisions of Bahwalpur, Multan and DG Khan.

According to Article 239 of the Constitution, the process of creating new provinces requires a two-thirds majority in separate votes in the two houses of parliament and then a further two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly of the affected province.

Given the current party position of arch-rival parties in the parliament, as well as in the Punjab Assembly, the creation of the province has become a complex issue. The PML-N and the PPP, both a part of the opposition in Punjab and the Centre, will not easily let the PTI have the credit of a new province despite the fact that both of the parties had already endorsed the cause of a new province in south Punjab.