Notable politicians and journalists expressed these views while addressing a seminar on “Need of New Provinces in Pakistan and Media” at Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan on Saturday.
The seminar was presided over by renowned lawyer and former federal minister S M Zafar, while guests of honor include former information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani and Central Secretary Information PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan. Speakers included journalist Qudratullah Chaudhry and Columnist Rauf Tahir. Absar Abdul Ali.
S M Zafar on the occasion opined that the federation had become part and parcel of their political system, and said: “The more the provinces, the less would be the chances of disintegration”. Quoting some analysts he said “One reason of the 1971 cataclysm was that all the four provinces of West Pakistan were declared as One Unit.
SM Zafar said that all those who were making noise on the issue of new provinces were scoring political points, as none of the politicians had shown any interest when to a proposed amendment in the constitution, necessary for the procedure.
Zafar ascertained that there was nothing wrong with the division of the existing units, quoting the example of Quaid’s famous 14 points that pronounced separation of Sindh from Bombay. He said that a formula should be devised to distribute National Finance Commission Award within the provinces.
Muhammad Ali Durrani in his address, said that the people of Punjab were the poorest in the country and the formation of new provinces was indispensable provided a commission recommends it on administrative grounds not on ethnic basis. This thinking he stressed would strengthen the cause of democracy in the country.
He presented the historic and legal position of Bahawalpur as a province and demanded the Bahawalpur Province should be formed on administrative grounds.
Durrani criticised the incumbent Premier saying “Gillani is playing Seraiki Province card against Nawaz’s Punjab and Zardari’s Sindh card.” He also criticised the rulers who allotted lands of Bahawalpur to others. He also applauded Indian procedure in this regard.
Senator Mushahidullah said that all the political parties instead of wasting their energies should work hard to resolve the grave issues and promote brotherhood, tolerance and education. He criticised Prime Minister Gillani saying that his only performance in the regime was corruption. The PM’s son, who claims to be a descendant of Ghous-e-Azam’s chain, is found guilty in Seven billion rupees medicine scam.
He said that his party did not oppose new provinces but it opposed the way they were being propagated on ethnic or linguistic grounds.
Rauf Tahir on the occasion said that the demand of Bahawalpur province had a historic perspective. He said that Yahya Khan broke One Unit but out of malice did not restore the status of Bahawalpur.
He said that the PM who claims to make Seraiki Province did not know about the Seraiki people and their living geography. He said Seraiki people had been living in all the provinces.
Tahir said that those who had become flag bearers of new provinces were responsible for the deprivations of people including poverty, illiteracy and lawlessness.