Saraiki province – PPP’s political gimmick or realpolitik?

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Despite public claims on the creation of Saraiki province, the Pakistan People’s Party has not taken any practical step to move forward for the creation of the new province yet as no consultation has been made even with the government’s coalition partners nor is there any preparation of a constitutional amendment in this regard.
Background interactions with the PPP and PML-Q top leadership revealed that the PPP has not taken any practical step to prepare a draft for a constitutional amendment for the creation of a new province neither has it begun the consultation process to persuade its coalition partners to support the amendment. Even the party’s consultation process is yet to be completed as most of the party leaders have no clue about the move, which is otherwise rife in the media.
The PPP sub-committee of the manifesto committee tasked to hold consultations with Saraiki intellectuals, media and politicians, has not yet finished its proceedings and has been unable to make any recommendation to the party leadership for the move yet. “We have started consultations with all stakeholders of Saraiki province. However, we have not submitted any recommendation to the party leadership for Saraiki province yet,” Textiles Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin – who is also chairman of the sub-committee of the manifesto committee on Saraiki province – said. However, he was not sure whether the sub-committee had held three or four meetings since being asked to prepare the ground for the Saraiki province.
A source in the government said no framework had been worked out for the creation of new provinces while no formula of resource generation had been evolved for any new province. “Before carving out a new province, you need to evolve a framework based on population and area under which the province would be created. Moreover, no formula has yet been worked out for revenue generation for the new province while it has to be ascertained what role the federation would play vis-à-vis resources generation for the new province,” the source said.
Elaborating on legal hitches in creation of a new province, Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed told Pakistan Today that the Saraiki province seemed to be a mere political gimmick aimed at winning the next elections as the treasury benches had not even launched a consultative process for the draft of a constitutional amendment. “Under the constitution, the relevant provincial assembly would have to pass a resolution for creation of a new province with a two-thirds majority. Moreover, both houses of parliament would have to pass a constitutional amendment separately for the creation of a new province with a two-thirds majority,” he added.
He said it seemed that the new provinces mantra was an election stunt and not a mature move as “divisions are never good for nations”, adding that instead unity was the need of the hour. Eminent jurist SM Zafar said Article 239 of the constitution allowed creation of a new province under which both houses would have to pass a constitutional amendment for the creation of a new province. Moreover, he said before the assent by the president, the relevant provincial assembly would have to pass a resolution for the creation of a new province with a two-thirds majority.
Former Punjab law minister Khalid Ranjha agreed with his senior colleagues and told Pakistan Today that the relevant provincial assembly would have to pass a resolution with a two-thirds majority followed by a constitutional amendment by both houses of parliament to materialise the dream for new provinces. In its maiden meeting held on April 8, the PPP manifesto committee decided to make the party’s politico-economic policy and a Saraiki province as cornerstone of the party’s manifesto for the upcoming general elections.
MNA Fauzia Habib was given the responsibility to coordinate with all the members of the committee.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Interestingly most of these people–Makhdoom Shahabudin, Fozia Wahab–are sindhis. It is them who are going to decide fate of Punjab. They may well be able to divide Punjab, but that will be the end of PPP in northern central Punjab. Without winning some seats in this area, PPP can't come to power. This is all a facade to divide and rule, to get few votes for dying party. For four years this PPP government has done nothing for people, and now before next election their only slogan is division of Punjab. Good Luck to PPP

  2. @ iqbal,ppp won't suffer any loss,the punjabi people have shown that they don't care if their homeland is broken up into little little pieces.i've lived in punjab all my life and today i see that no one especially the youth don't speak their mother tongue,no one reads any punjabi language newspapers if there are even any.ppp knows there will be no reaction from the punjabis when punjab is broken up so it is going ahead full steam with making 4 new provinces out of punjab.when a people are too ashamed to speak their mother tongue then the outstiders can do whatever they like to them.

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