LAHORE: The Executive Council on Creation of south Punjab province in its second meeting on Wednesday constituted six sub-committees to discuss various aspects of the advance administrative set-up the PTI government intends to initially introduce either in Multan or Bahawalpur, and submit recommendations.

Realizing that it requires amendments to the constitution with a two-third majority in the parliament and in the Punjab assembly to create a new province which is not possible at the moment, the PTI government intends to at least set up an advance administrative set-up in either Multan or Bahawalpur to satisfy its south Punjab supporters whom it had promised a new province ahead of elections.

A majority of MPAs in the PTI bag in Punjab are also from south Punjab and losing them due to the new province issue does not appear to be a viable option for the party, political observers believe.

Official sources informed Dawn after the meeting that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered Punjab to put in place the advance administrative set-up under an additional chief secretary by July next year. The city where it would be set up, Multan or Bahawalpur, would be given the status of the future metropolis of the new province, they said.

They said the prime minister was expected to announce establishment of the advance set-up in his speech on Thursday (today) but he would decide which of the two cities would host it after a meeting with the executive council later on.

They said the chairman of the council decided in its second meeting on Wednesday that all sub-committees would work out various details of the administrative set-up and submit reports every after a fortnight.

The political committee is headed by the Council Chairman former MNA Chaudhry Tahir Basheer Cheema and comprises Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Mazari, former MNA Mian Ahsan Leghari, MPAs Syed Ali Abbas Shah, Sardar Sahabuddin Seehar and Sardar Javed Akhtar Khan Lund and MNA Amir Talal Gopang.

The administrative committee is headed by Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry and comprises former civil servants Anwar A Khan and Javed Iqbal Awan, MPA Shazada Ghazain Abbasi. Punjab IGP, additional chief secretary home and secretary S&GAD were co-opted as members.

The finance and planning committee is headed by Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and comprises former civil servant Mr Anwar A Khan, MPA Syed Ali Abbas Shah. Secretary finance and P&D chairmen are co-opted as members.

Research committee is headed by former MNA Dr Mina Ahsan Leghari and comprises agriculturist Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak.

The social sector committee is headed by MPA Sardar Shahabuddin Seehar and comprises MNA Amir Talal Gopang, former civil servant Javed Iqbal Awan , secretaries health, education and agriculture.

The legal committee is headed by agriculturist Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak, Dr Mina Leghari, MPA Syed Ali Abbas Shah, secretaries of law and prosecution department.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018