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HYDERABAD, June 7: The president of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said on Thursday the issue of new provinces was raised by rulers and PML-N in an attempt to cover up their failures in four-year rule.

There is no room for creation of new provinces in the existing Constitution and it will have to be amended to make room for new provinces.

Addressing a news conference at the residence of one Rehan Hanif who announced joining PTI in his presence, Mr Hashmi opposed division of Sindh on any ground but supported creation of new provinces on administrative grounds.

He said the issue had been whipped up to keep people engaged in unending linguistic and ethnic debates. “In Punjab, it is Bahawalpur, Multan or Siraiki province, in Sindh it is another province. Had they been serious they would have tabled a bill instead of a resolution in the Punjab Assembly,” he said.

He said the slogan of new province was a cruel and tyrannical way of influencing voters. “Zardari will ask his constituents to vote him if they don’t want division of Sindh while the other side will ask its supporters to vote them if they want a separate province,” he said.

He said that administrative division of Punjab could be considered because there was an old demand for it.

Mr Hashmi ruled out creation of a new province in Sindh. “No one has the privilege to talk about creation of a province here [in Sindh],” he said.

Since other slogans had failed to work they were trying to give new slogans to people. “These are same old hunters with new traps,” he remarked.

All over the world, he said, provinces were created to promote decentralisation. “In the UK, every district is considered a province because the district is more powerful than a province,” he said.

He said that people would have to be given power at grass root level in all possible ways like the local government administrations. The 18th Amendment had strengthened the provinces, he said.

He said the PTI did not want to oust the government at this point in time. “They will collapse of themselves well before we decide to touch them and then they will portray themselves as ‘mazlooms’ but we don’t want them to claim ‘mazloomyat’ in the eyes of the public,” he said.

Mr Hashmi criticised another reshuffle in ministries and said changing portfolios would not resolve people’s problems “A new minister will not add to badly needed megawatts through his body,” he said.

He blamed PML-N and PPP for ditching leadership of Balochistan in 2008 elections and for the province drifting away from the mainstream.

No government had ever taken serious steps to promote patriotism among people by providing them facilities, he said.

He expressed the hope that Supreme Court would decide the case of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar on the basis of merit. The PTI had already said that Kalabagh Dam would not be built unless Sindh agreed to it, he said.

He evaded a question about Chaudhry Nisar’s criticism of him and said he was thankful to Allah for the importance he had today.

Mr Hashmi said that he did not take advice of Nawaz Sharif even when he was a minister under him. “When he offered me to have a sugar mill I told him, Mian Saheb! I need Pakistan,” he said.

He quoted a survey carried out by the International Republican Institute, which had put PTI on top of popularity list of all political parties in Pakistan and said the PTI could organise public meetings in Balochistan today where it had become the most popular party.

He said the June 22 public meeting would give a strong message to whole Sindh that youths of the country supported Imran Khan and PTI.

“We don’t talk about new and old Sindhis….all are Sindhis and youths are united,” he said, adding no distinction could be made on the basis of old and new residents.