THE Punjab government has announced the creation of a South Punjab secretariat as a prerequisite step for the creation of a new province. However, this new secretariat is to be scattered in two cities. Like some of the other initiatives taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, this action has caused widespread annoyance among the people of South Punjab.
The people are upset that before taking this step, there was no public debate nor a consensus developed on the issue. The Punjab government just took a unilateral decision and announced that a civil secretariat would be set up in Bahawalpur while a central police office would be set up in Multan.
Considering the history and culture of the area, a better option to resolve this issue would be that a South Punjab province with a new capital city be set up somewhere between Multan and Bahawalpur.
This measure will amicably address the rivalry between the two cities to be the headquarters of the new province.
The second but a better option would be the creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur as two separate but twin provinces. In this manner they would be separate provincial entities but have to share senate seats according to their population ratio.
The third option can be to declare Multan and Bahawalpur as the joint capital for South Punjab province and ensure that 50 per cent of the provincial secretariats, ministries and directorates are located in each city.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2020