KARACHI, May 31: President Asif Ali Zardari sent a reference to the Speaker of the National Assembly on Thursday night, calling for the formation of a commission comprising six senators, six MNAs and two members of the Punjab Assembly to look into issues relating to creation of two new provinces, Multan and Bahawalpur, and initiate the process of amendments to the Constitution for the purpose.

The president’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said the commission would submit its report in a month, to be followed by the process for constitutional amendments.

He said the reference drew attention of the speaker to resolutions calling for the creation of the new provinces adopted by the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly.

Following is the text of the reference signed by the president and sent to the Speaker:

“In the matter of implementation of resolutions passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan and provincial assembly of Punjab for the creation of two provinces, namely province of Multan and province of Bahawalpur from the existing province of Punjab.

“The National Assembly in its 41st session in its meeting held on 3rd May, 2012, passed a resolution to the effect that in order to address the grievances and to secure the political, administrative and economic interests of the people of the southern region of the province of the Punjab and to empower them in this regard, a new province to be known as province of Janoobi Punjab be created from the present province of the Punjab. The provincial assembly of Punjab has also passed a similar resolution demanding the parliament and federal government to create a new province of Janoobi Punjab and also to revive the earlier status of Bahawalpur as a province.

“In order to implement the aforesaid resolutions and before a process is initiated to amend the Constitution in terms of Article 239 thereof it is expedient that a commission may be constituted comprising six members from the Senate to be nominated by the chairman, six members from the National Assembly to be nominated by the speaker and two members from the provincial assembly of Punjab to be nominated by the speaker of the provincial assembly of Punjab. The commission shall look into the issues relating to the fair distribution of economic and financial resources, demarcation, allocation/re-adjustment of seats in the National Assembly, Senate and the concerned provincial assembly and allocation of seats in the new province on the basis of population, including seats of minorities and women and other constitutional, legal and administrative matters. The provisions of the Constitution which would require amendment inter alia include Articles 1(2), 51, 59 and 106 of the Constitution.

“The commission shall submit its report to speaker as well as to the prime minister within 30 days of its notification in the official gazette, which will be followed by initiation of the process of amendment of the Constitution.”

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