Commission on provinces fails to build consensus
29 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Commission on Creation of New Provinces in Punjab on Monday could not formulate a consensus report, as three dissenting notes were part of its final report.
Though the commission has finalised its work on the report, which is likely to be submitted in the National Assembly today (Tuesday), the PPP and its allies were on different wavelengths, as opposition party JUI-F also registered a dissenting note. The commission, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Farhatullah Babar, saw some heated debate on the issue because the ANP and PML-Q could not extend all-out support to it and added their dissenting voice.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led JUI-F disagreed with the inclusion of Mianwali, Bhakar and Bahawalnagar in the proposed Bahawalpur South Punjab province. The party also opposed inclusion of Dera Ghazi Khan in the new province on the grounds that the district was part of Balochistan and should be annexed with it. It also urged that new provinces in Punjab should be carved out in the light of the recommendations of a unanimous resolution of the Punjab Assembly, which envisaged two new federating units in Punjab.
The Awami National Party, a key ally of PPP government, also opposed inclusion of Mianwali and Bhakar in the new province, arguing that historically these areas had been part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PML-Q, another coalition partner of the government, called for making the demand for Hazara province part of the report of the commission, however, it was rejected.
PML-Q Senator and a member of the commission Kamil Ali Agha submitted a dissenting note for non-inclusion of the demand for the Hazara province in the final report. Another coalition partner of government, MQM, did not file a dissenting note. It, however, submitted an additional report, suggesting that the new provinces should be carved out wherever needed in the country. On the other hand, the PML-N stuck to its stance of boycotting the proceedings of the meeting.
PML-N spokesman Asim Khan told our sources that the party also opposes inclusion of Mianwali in the new province and suggested that a referendum should be held in the district to determine its fate.