LAHORE, Pakistan: A newly-elected lawmaker from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly asking for initiating the process for creating a South Punjab province.
The resolution submitted by MPA Mohsin Leghari stated, “This House strongly recommends to the federal government [that it] initiate the process of creation of Southern Punjab [province] immediately.”
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Creation of South Punjab was one of the main objectives in PTI’s election manifesto. The party had made the promise to the general public while courting a political party called Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM) or the South Punjab Province Front.
The JPSM mostly included estranged leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who had formed the platform for “the single-point agenda of carving a new province from the southern parts of Punjab”.
Under the PTI-JPSM deal, the PTI has started the procedure to create a new province within the first 100 days of its government.
It should be noted that the other two major parties, PPP and PML-N, are in favor of the formation of the new province.
During electioneering for the 2018 polls, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had announced their support for the new province.
Qureshi had said that “the PTI endorsed the demand for the creation of a southern Punjab province not for linguistic reasons but on administrative grounds to mitigate the miseries and sense of deprivation being faced by some 35 million people living in Bahawalpur, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions”.
Whereas, Shehbaz Sharif said, “PML-N has committed to the cause of reviving the Bahawalpur province as well as creating a South Punjab province.”
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PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also said, “We will make a separate province (of south Punjab) and end the deprivation of this belt if you people support us.”
According to Article 239 of the Constitution, the process of creating new provinces requires a two-thirds majority in separate votes in the two houses of parliament and then a further two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly of the affected province.