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New provinces' commission fails to formulate recommendations

11 January, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Commission on Creation of New Provinces in Punjab has missed the deadline for completion of its report for the said purpose.

The missing of the deadline casts doubt on the commission which is tasked with carving out new federating units in Punjab, especially in the backdrop of continuous boycott of its proceedings by the PML-N, the largest opposition party, which also rules Punjab.

According to terms of the commission, January 10, 2013, was the deadline for the completion of the report to suggest ways for creation of new provinces in Punjab. The lapse of the deadline for completion of the report led the chairman of the commission to approach the National Assembly speaker for another extension.

"We will request the speaker to extend the deadline for compilation of the report," said head of the commission, Senator Farhatullah Babar, after the meeting. He said that the commission had completed the process of public hearings and had taken input from the experts. "We have entered the next phase and will formulate our recommendations for the purpose," he added.

"The commission will hold hearings on a daily basis from January 19 and will meet the deadline," Babar added. Though he said that the commission would complete its task as early as possible, he did not give any deadline. In its ten earlier sittings, the commission had taken input from over 30 experts and stakeholders.

During the course of the hearing, a majority of the experts and people from the region opposed the proposed restoration of the status of Bahawalpur as province. And given the fact that the commission has to go through and sift data from huge piles of material it received from the stakeholders, there is a likelihood that it would take another month for completion of its recommendations.

The National Assembly is nearing completion of its term in March and it is left with, most probably, with two sittings.

End.

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