ISLAMABAD - In a bid to play with emotions of people from Southern Punjab, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is going to make an attempt to test the waters by tabling 24th constitution amendment bill-2013 in the Upper House of the Parliament.
“The PPP is all set to table bill on new province in Senate on Tuesday with a full-fledged attempt to pass it from Senate,” PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar told TheNation. Presidential spokesman seems pessimistic in this attempt as he remarked that albeit they would make endeavour to get it passed but it depends upon presence of all members from treasury benches.
The ruling PPP has recently tabled a report of the Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on the 24th Constitutional Amendment Bill, for the purpose of creation of Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab (BJP) out of the Punjab with dissenting note of even its own senior member Raza Rabbani.
The opposition benches terming it as a ‘drama’ staged walkout from the proceeding have same stance to forcefully oppose it on Tuesday. “Definitely, we will oppose it as this is political gimmick and nothing,” said Senator Ishaq Dar, talking to TheNation.
In the house of 104, the PPP’s coalition partners include ANP and PML(Q) also have certain reservations on clauses of 24th constitution amendment bill-2013. As, ANP have decided not to favor PPP in this bill due to reservations. “ANP will present its amendment in the bill,” said ANP senator Haji Adeel, talking to this scribe, adding that they were in favour of new provinces but they have certain reservation on the bill proposed by PPP.
When contacted, PML(Q) spokesman said they would soon decide tomorrow to favor it or not. Whereas, MQM which has recently converted to opposition benches will support PPP despite their ‘grievances’. “We will support this bill in Senate without any objection,” said senior CEC member Zahid Malik.
It would not be out of place to mention here that the new province of Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab, according to the commission’s recommendation, shall comprise Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions, along with the districts of Mianwali and Bhakhar.
The report on the draft bill, which had been referred to the committee after it was tabled by Senator Kazim Khan during the February 8 session of the Senate, was passed by the Senate committee amidst strong opposition from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the grounds that no new province should be created purely on linguistic basis.
The PML-N legislators have alleged that the ruling PPP is using the opportunity to gain political mileage during the coming elections, despite the fact that it does not have majority in the lower house of the Parliament or the Punjab Assembly to get the Bill passed with a two-thirds majority.
The PML-N also came out with its ‘bill-for-bill’ strategy in the national assembly if PPP attempted to present bill in the last session (50th session). “We have prepared two bills and it is up to PPP. If they present in the lower house we will table two bills in response,” said PML(N) Pervaiz Rashid, talking to TheNation.