PPP tables bill in Senate for south Punjab province


ISLAMABAD: Former senator Farhatullah Babar has said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Saturday tabled a constitution amendment bill in the Senate to create South Punjab province along the lines of the Bill that was passed by the Senate in 2013.

The new province shall comprise Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions and the districts of Mianwali and Bhakkar.

Addressing a seminar under the auspices of Seraiki Lok in the National Press Club, Islamabad, he said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) promised to deliver on its promise of a new province in first 100 days. The PPP waited for 8 months for the promise to be fulfilled but seeing that the government had not taken a single step, the PPP decided to table its own Bill with the support of other parties in the Senate, he added.

He said the PPP had even offered to the new government to adopt the already passed Bill as its own but neither the offer has been accepted nor the government has brought in its own constitutional amendment Bill.

The PPP leader recalled that the multi-party Parliamentary Commission set up in 2012 had also prepared a comprehensive report on the basis of thousands of communications on the subject and public hearings held on the issue.

A constitutional amendment bill based on the report was passed by the Senate with 2/3 majority but could not sail through in the National Assembly for want of two-third majority in the lower House. He asked the Seraiki people to hold the new government accountable for this.

Farhatullah Babar said the PTI won 30 out of 50 parliamentary seats from the Seraiki belt on the promise of making it a separate province and asked why the government was dragging its feet on the issue.

He said that according to a decade old data the three southern divisions of Multan, Bahawalpur and D.G Khan accounted for 84 % of cotton, 41% of wheat, 36% of sugar production in Punjab. Similarly, over 85% of cotton ginning factories, nearly 40 % of flour mills, 30% of sugar mills and 25% of fertilizer making units of Punjab were located in the southern divisions.

About its deprivations, Babar said that the quota of Punjab in federal bureaucracy is nearly 50% and as such the 3 divisions should get 30% of it. However, it had been denied as Punjab refused to adopt the zoning formula in Article 27 of the Constitution which had been adopted by all other provinces.