South Punjab province: PPP starts coordinating with opposition

Published November 24, 2018
PPP leadership appears to be on board for the creation of a fifth province. — File
PPP leadership appears to be on board for the creation of a fifth province. — File

LAHORE: The PPP has decided to actively play its role in the creation of south Punjab province by coordinating with other stakeholders.

The party leadership has tasked its parliamentary leader in the Punjab Assembly, Syed Hassan Murtaza, with coordinating with other opposition parties, including the PML-N, as well as the defunct Janoobi Sooba Mahaz (South Punjab Front) to seek their support for the cause.

Mr Murtaza will also individually call on the MPAs to build a consensus on carving out a new federating unit from Punjab. He said fresh resolutions would be moved both in the national and the provincial assemblies for creation of a new province The PPP has rejected the committee earlier formed by the PTI-led Punjab government on the creation of new provinces for, what Mr Murtaza called, being non-representative.

“The committee mostly comprised non-elected people and headed by a non-elected person (Tahir Basheer Cheema), excluding other stakeholders, particularly the opposition, the PPP and PML-N,” he told Dawn.

He said when he raised the issue in the Business Advisory Committee of the Punjab Assembly, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had admitted that it consisted of only PTI and PML-Q leaders and defended the decision by arguing that the two allies could form such a panel for internal consultations.

Answering a question about Mr Cheema’s statement that in the first stage Bahawalpur province, encompassing the areas included in the defunct Bahawalpur state, would be created before taking up the Janoobi Punjab cause, the PPP leader alleged that the PTI, which had got votes in the southern belt in the name of creating the Janoobi Punjab province, was using delaying tactics by raising such issues.

“It also shows that the PTI is not sincere with the cause and wishes to keep its hold the country, like the PML-N, by keeping resources of the whole Punjab, which consists of 63pc of Pakistan.”

Mr Murtaza clarified that his party demanded bifurcation of Punjab on administrative grounds and not lingual or other basis with full provincial autonomy like the existing provinces.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2018

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