PA gives nod to trifurcate Punjab
* Provincial assembly unanimously passes two resolutions for creation of Southern Punjab and restoration of Bahawalpur province
* Asks federal government to immediately constitute national commission in this regard
By Kashif Hussain
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly has unanimously passed separate resolutions in favour of two new provinces – ‘Southern Punjab’ and ‘Bahawalpur’ – to be carved out of the southern areas of the current Punjab, resulting in trifurcation of the province.
Though the ruling party in the province, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), tried to get some political mileage on the issue after presenting the resolutions independently, the opposition, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), foiled the move.
Resultantly, both the treasury and opposition benches reached a consensus to table both resolutions in the House jointly and decided that the parliamentary leaders of every party in the assembly will move the resolutions one after the other and the presentation of both resolutions would be considered mutual.
Following the decision, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, opposition leader Raja Riaz, parliamentary leader of the PML-Q Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, parliamentary leader of PML-Functional (PML-F) Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood and parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Ali Noor Niazi moved the resolutions one by one.
Consequently, 201 parliamentarians in the House at the time voted in favour of the resolutions. The assembly adopted the first resolution on Bahawalpur province, which stated that the people of Bahawalpur were struggling for restoration of their province and it was not a new demand but based on administrative, geographical, historical, constitutional and political facts, so on these grounds, former province of Bahawalpur should be restored without any delay.
The resolution also stated that the House wanted restoration of this province immediately, and it also demanded that the federal government constitute a national commission to decide all basic matters such as demarcation of the new province, its administrative, constitutional and legal matters and distribution of resources, and the proposed commission should complete its work on the new province as soon as possible.
Next, the House adopted the second resolution regarding ‘Southern Punjab’ province, which stated that the ‘Southern Punjab’ province be made immediately, and also that the federal government constitute a national commission to decide all basic matters such as demarcation of the new province, its administrative, constitutional and legal matters and 0distribution of resources, and it (proposed commission) should complete its work on the new province earliest.
Earlier, PPP’s newly elected member of the provincial assembly from Multan, Usman Bhatti, and returning candidate on a reserved seat for women, Shamaila Rana of the PML-N, took their oaths. When Shamaila Rana was taking oath, opposition members chanted slogans against her, calling her “chor” and “dakoo”. They shouted “shame shame” against her and also waved their ATM cards in front of her, referring to the reason of her resignation in August 2009 – alleged misuse of ATM cards of her two colleagues after stealing them. In response, PML-N legislators raised slogans of “Go Zardari Go!” and “Go Gilani Go!”, turning the House into a fish market.
PPP members, especially Sajida Mir, Shaukat Basra, Hasan Murtaza and Nargis Faiz Malik, chanted of “alwida, alwida – Jati Umrah alwida”, “Takht-e-Lahore thaa” and “dooji waari fare Zardari” (Zardari for the second time).
Later, the speaker adjourned the session for an indefinite period. After the session, some lawmakers from southern Punjab raised slogans in favour of two more provinces comprising Thal and Potohar.