ISLAMABAD - Terming the PPP-led coalition government’s move on new province a political gimmick, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) MNA Shireen Arshad Khan has said that they will not accept anything less than the restoration of provincial status for Bahawalpur and people of the area would be on streets if their just and longstanding demand was not fulfilled.
Doubting the sincerity of the Pakistan People’s Party, Khan said that instead of adopting an easier course of restoration of Bahawalpur Province the ruling coalition had come up with a proposal of a new province comprising Bhawalpur, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions, besides Bhakkar and Mainwali districts, which would not at all acceptable to the people of Bahawalpur who were struggling for restoration of Bahawalpur province for past over three decades. To a question Shireen Arshad Khan said that PPP was doing all this to have a slogan for the upcoming elections in the Seraiki belt but made it clear that now the people of Bahawalpur and south Punjab could not be befooled anymore on such hollow slogans.
She also challenged the validity of the Parliamentary Commission on creation of new provinces in Punjab, which was not having any representation from the Punjab Assembly while the main opposition party in the National Assembly, PML-N, had also boycotted the proceedings of the commission.
Khan said that as PPP during its five year rule had done nothing for the people of south Punjab so they were now trying to win over the support of the people by coming up with a proposal of Seraiki province and quickly added that the PPP leadership was not serious in serving the cause of the people of these backward areas.
To a question she said that Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had executed unprecedented development projects in Bahawalpur and other south Punjab districts. Especially in the 2010 floods Mian Shahbaz Sharif was virtually camped in these areas and himself monitored the relief work. She said that people of south Punjab would never forget the services rendered by Mian Shahbaz Sharif for them.
She further said that it was again Mian Shahbaz Sharif who came up with a concrete and workable plan of restoration of Bahawapur Province and creation of another province comprising Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions when PPP leaders from south Punjab had raised the issue of creation of separate province just a few months before the culmination of their mandated term just to make it an issue for their election campaign and to cover up their failures of past five years. The lady from Bahawalpur recalled that she used to attend the protest rallies for restoration of Bahawalpur province with her father and grandfather since her childhood and it had become mission for her and many like her to see the restoration of provincial status for Bahawalpur.