PML-N plays the Bahawalpur card


Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), under a refined strategy to tackle the PPP-PML-Q nexus over the formation of new provinces, has demanded the revival of Bahawalpur as an independent province. According to the party sources privy to the new strategy, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s partner in the Punjab government, Pakistan Muslim League Zia (PML-Z) played a role in the demand for a separate Bahwalpur province that was submitted on Tuesday.
Per the details available to Pakistan Today, the resolution was submitted by Shahid Anjum of (PML-Z) from PP-284 (Bahawalnagar-VIII) in which he said that forming provinces on linguistic basis would harm the country. Talking to this scribe, he insisted on restoration of Bahawalpur province before establishing new provinces which was the demand of the people of Bahawalpur. The resolution stated that PML-Z was not against the Saraiki Province but revival of Bahawalpur province was the foremost right of local population. He said that slogan for creating new provinces along ethnic lines was a conspiracy that was affecting the attempt to make Bahawalpur a separate province.
He further said that Bahawalpur had a separate identification as an independent state even before the establishment of One Unit and its revival was mandatory. Sources further confided that the resolution was submitted against resolutions of new provinces by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) and Pakistan People’s party (PPP) in the provincial assembly. It is notable here that just four days ago, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani during his visit at Circuit House, Bahawalpur said that the issue of Bahawalpur province would be resolved in consultation with local leaders and stakeholders and in accordance with public demand. He told the local people that a committee had been formed by President Asif Ali Zardari to look into the formation of new provinces and the final decision would be taken once the committee had submitted its recommendations. Earlier in June, Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi of Bahawalpur National Awami Party (BNAP) set September as a deadline to restore the provincial status of Bahawalpur and threatened to create chaos if his demand was not met.


  1. 1973 Constitution was passed unanimously. Similarly, 18th Amendment was also passed unanimously. It is time for all political parties and stake-holders to sit together and decide on creation of new provinces. It should not be made a matter of point scoring.

    I welcome PML-N's agreement in principle on creation of new provinces. What should be the basis, can be be decided by engaging all concerned. It will be in the best interest of Pakistan to let this matter be decided by present Parliament and concerned Provincial Assemblies instead of making it an issue to be exploited in 2013 elections.

  2. Demand for restoring the status of province to Bahawalpur Division is gathering momentum, though a bit slowly. My take from the brief visit to three cities in Bahawalpur Division was that the workers and local leaders of all the political parties have consensus that they need a separate province. Perhaps the only exception to this was PML (N) workers who are not vocal on this issue for the sake of political expediency.
    Their demand is not on ethno-linguistic basis. It is based on their historical rights, hence has support of non-Siriaki speaking people of the former province also. Punjab is a big province of about 100 million people and cannot be managed from ‘Takhat-e-Lahore’ effectively. Bahawalpur was a prosperous State in the pre-partition days and the Nawabs were always helpful to the central government whether it was of the colonial Britain or the new-born Pakistan.

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