Ruckus continues in Punjab Assembly over new provinces


Government and opposition leaders on Tuesday exchanged harsh words during the Punjab Assembly session over the issue of new provinces. During the session chaired by Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Shaukat Basra demanded the assembly speaker nominate a list of legislators for the commission formed to carve out a new province in southern Punjab.
Basra also threatened to disrupt the session if his demands remained unfulfilled. The opposition lawmakers also chanted slogans advocating the creation of a southern Punjab province. During the session, Rana Iqbal said the issue of establishing the commission for new provinces should be taken up in Punjab, as it had been in other regions. Raja Riaz, leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly, dubbed the chief minister of Punjab a “mental patient”, prompting Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to respond in kind.
The continuing ruckus prompted the assembly’s speaker to postpone the proceedings until today (Wednesday). Just like in Tuesday’s session, the opposition leaders had raised a major hue and cry in Monday’s sitting of the provincial assembly. The PPP Punjab had warned on Sunday that they would not let the speaker conduct any business if he did not nominate two Punjab MPAs for the commission the federal government had constituted to carve out a new province in Punjab. On Monday, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan had tried all to appease the opposition, but to no avail.
National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza wrote a letter three weeks ago asking the Punjab Assembly speaker to nominate two names for the commission on new provinces. The commission already has 12 members and it elected Senator Farhatullah Babar as its interim chairman during its maiden session on Tuesday. The Punjab Assembly speaker claims he has replied to NA speaker’s letter, asking for a national commission to be constituted to decide the creation of new provinces across the country, not just in Punjab.