PPP, PML-N contend over new province in Senate
30 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday had a debate over creation of a new province, and senators of the PML-N and ruling PPP traded words against and in favour of the proposed Bahawalpur South Punjab province, which is to be carved out of Punjab.
The PML-N leaders, including leader of opposition Ishaq Dar, termed the move a mere drama, which has nothing to do with the creation of a new province but is aimed at gaining some political mileage. He asked why was the government not taking up other more important national issues and only obsessed with division of Punjab which, he said, would result in nothing but creation of confusion among people. Dar said that the approach of the federal government in creation of a new province in Punjab is unrealistic.
He said his party had rejected the commission on new provinces, as neither he nor opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were consulted on the matter. He asked the government to first make public the report of the commission so that it could be studied, after which his party would make a decision. The opposition leader was of the view that the chairman of the commission, Senator Farhatullah Babar, had admitted that the new province bill could not be passed from the Punjab Assembly, why then was the government adamant on the issue.
Dar said the country was facing severe challenges, but the issue of new province was being raised just to play politics. "This issue has been debated in the last few months just to do politics. It will be better to leave aside petty issues and discuss serious problems being faced by the country," he pleaded. Earlier, another PML-N senator, Jafar Iqbal, on a point of order raised the issue of creation of new province in Punjab.
He claimed that the Punjab government has passed two resolutions regarding restoration of Bahawalpur Province and also looked in to the matter of creation of South Punjab Province one year ago. He claimed that the issue remained in cold storage for an year, and now when the general elections are near the government has raise it again. He added that this matter has now been politicised.
The new provinces' commission has taken up both the Punjab Assembly resolutions and is working for creation of Bahawalpur South Punjab province, in which Mianwali has also been included. Protest demonstrations erupted in different parts of Mianwali and other parts of Punjab over the move. Iqbal said the federal government intentionally created an uncertain situation in Punjab and warned that a Pandora's box will open in the near future. Whatever the federal government passed will be presented in the Punjab Assembly, which, he said will totally reject it because there is no PPP majority.
Parliamentary Commission on Creation of New Provinces in Punjab Chairman Senator Farhatullah Babar told the senators that the introduction of bill for creation of Bahawalpur South Punjab in parliament would be an expression of political intent that the PPP was serious in solving problems of the people. "Regardless of what happens with the bill; it is a demonstration of political will to address people's grievances," he said while responding to various point of orders of PML-N lawmakers.
Babar said the report for creation of the new province had been prepared and several things would become clear when it is made public. He said the government was not using the creation of new province as a political stunt, adding that the PML-N was asked to become part of the commission but it avoided doing that. "The formation of the commission was a serious business. Let's not try to trivialise it," he added.