Punjab Assembly rejects commission on new provinces
30 August, 2012
LAHORE: The treasury benches in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution against the commission formed by the National Assembly speaker for creation of new provinces in Punjab and raised the demand for formation of a new national commission.
The resolution was passed with a majority despite opposition's constant interruptions and pointing out of quorum.
The resolution, which had been tabled by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on the very first day of the current PA session, had created animosity between the opposition and treasury. The session's third day on Wednesday witnessed the same pandemonium over the new provinces' issue.
The opposition and treasury members exchanged heated words, which eventually transformed into a brawl between women lawmakers. Sanaullah asked the speaker to present the resolution out of turn by suspending rules of assembly. The resolution urged the federal government to have a wider scope and examine the need for creating provinces across country and not just Punjab.
The opposition members constantly kept pointing out the quorum, however, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal overlooked the objections and completed the official agenda of the session, later proroguing it for an indefinite period.
Opposition lawmakers from both PPP and PML-Q spoke in favour of the Saraiki province, but at the end, when they raised the demand for nomination of names for the NA commission, the House once again echoed with high-pitched slogans from across the political divide.
The speaker said he had already replied to the NA speaker's letter, adding if the federal government was serious about resolving the issue, it should constitute a national commission.
The speaker also clarified the Punjab government was not against formation of new provinces but had differences over the criteria and was not satisfied with the method adopted by the federal government.
Meanwhile, following the voices of separate provinces in Punjab, the people of Potohar area also woke up and demanded independence from 'Takht-e-Lahore' by filing a resolution for a separate province. The resolution was submitted by 16 assembly members mostly belonging to the treasury benches.
Interestingly, some members from Punjab districts like Gujranwala and Sialkot have also signed the resolution for establishment of a separate province – comprising upper areas of Punjab, including Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum, along with MPAs of respective areas of Potohar.
According to sources, the PML-N, under a refined strategy to tackle both opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly – PPP and PML-Q – over the formation of new provinces by dividing Punjab and after reviving the demand for establishing Bahawalpur and southern Punjab as independent provinces, has submitted a resolution for the creation of Potohar province.
According to sources, the PML-N, under a refined strategy to tackle both opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly – PPP and PML-Q – over the formation of new provinces and after reviving the demand for establishing Bahawalpur and southern Punjab as independent provinces, has submitted a resolution for the creation of Potohar province.
Commission on new provinces decides to continue its work
Despite the PML-N's boycott, the parliamentary commission on new provinces has decided to continue its proceedings.
The commission's meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Farhatullah Babar on Wednesday. It was decided that all sessions of the commission would be in-camera so it could work with concentration.
During the meeting, an initial debate on framing rules was conducted, while it will consult the Law Ministry and minister in its next meeting. The commission decided that civil society and analysts would be invited for presenting opinions.
Talking to media, Babar said they had asked PML-N members of the commission to participate in the sessions, but they were still absent.
Answering a question regarding a resolution in the Punjab Assembly on formation of Potohar province, Babar said the body would work in light of the letter written by President Zardari to the NA speaker, and the issue of this province does not come under the commission's purview.