MULTAN: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has constituted a 12-member executive council for the creation of south Punjab province.
According to a letter issued on Oct 22, former MNA Chaudhry Tahir Bashir Cheema is the chairman of the council, while its members include Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Mazari, Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry, MPAs Sahibzada Ghazain Abbasi, Syed Ali Abbas Shah, Sardar Shahabuddin Khan Seehar, Sardar Javed Akhtar Khan Lund and Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmed Khan, former MPA Mina Ehsan Leghari, agriculturalist Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak and three former civil bureaucrats, including Anwar Ahmed Khan and Javed Iqbal Awan. Athar Hussain Khan is the secretary of the council.
“The chief minister has been pleased to desire for constitution of an executive council on the creation of south Punjab province. The council will be on behalf of the chief minister,” the notification stated.
Governor says nation will soon get good news about new province
The council will identify all possible issues pertaining to the creation of a separate province and engage all relevant departments to provide assistance where required, address all legislative matters concerning the creation of the province with the support of law and parliamentary affairs department, engage all relevant stakeholders to muster their support for the task, develop consensus, coordinate all matters with the federal committee on the creation of south Punjab province and any other ancillary matter related to the purpose.
“The council, in pursuance of the aforementioned terms of reference, shall seek institutional support, information and expert advice from all through any provincial department, public sector organisation or local government in the Punjab. The council shall have its office at the chief minister’s office, which shall be responsible for provision of necessary support to the council as and when required. In view of the forgoing, it is requested that further necessary action(s) in the matter, including notification of the aforementioned council, may kindly be taken,” the letter issued by the secretary to chief minister (coordination), Dr Muhammad Shoaib Akbar, stated.
Earlier, efforts to establish a sub-secretariat in Multan had been initiated on the directions of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to counter the demand for a south Punjab province.
Former governor Malik Rafique Rajwana was made the head of the committee that also included some parliamentarians, serving provincial secretaries and retired bureaucrats hailing from south Punjab and a retired judge.
Talking to Dawn, the former governor said that a list of all government employees belonging to south Punjab had been prepared.
“It was decided that special secretaries of important departments, including irrigation, agriculture, education, health and communication, will be deputed at the sub-secretariat,” he recalled.
He further said that recommendations were prepared on the directions of Mr Sharif and a draft handed over to relevant quarters. “But before any concrete measure was taken, the government got stuck in the worsening political affairs,” he said.
Mr Rajwana said that the purpose behind establishing the sub-secretariat was to counter the difficulties the people of south Punjab faced by visiting Lahore for their official work relating to major departments.
Meanwhile, incumbent Governor Chaudhry Sarwar has said that people will soon hear good news regarding the creation of south Punjab province.
He said this while addressing a gathering on Friday at Lal Sohanra National Park, about 35 kilometres from Bahawalpur, where he also planted a sapling in connection with the Green and Clean Pakistan campaign.
The governor claimed that the government would definitely establish south Punjab province and further claimed that under his party’s rule a huge change in the country would come about during the next two years when there would be no distinction between the poor and rich.
Punjab CM spokesperson Dr Shahbaz Gill says creation of south Punjab province warranted a rigorous process and could not be done haphazardly and added that no time-line could be given.
He was talking to newsmen in Lahore.
He said the committee, led by Tahir Bashir Cheema, would consult stakeholders and the government would also get their consent.
Majeed Gill from Bahawalpur and Mansoor Malik from Lahore also contributed to this report.
Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018
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