As a first step in this direction, the government will move a resolution in National Assembly in near future seeking division of Punjab into two provinces, and the PML-N would also be asked to support it.
If the PML-N opposed the resolution, it would be passed with two-thirds majority of the members and then sent to the Senate to be approved again with two-thirds majority.
It may be noted that PPP and its allies have the required strength both in the lower and the upper house to amend the Constitution at the moment.
The resolution approved by the two houses would then be sent to the Punjab Assembly. It would be a message for the PML-N that if it opposed it, the government could amend the Constitution to end the role of the provincial assembly concerned for making of a new province. Besides, the PPP thinks that it would get political mileage out of PML-N’s likely opposition to the new province.
In the second stage, the PPP and its allies would table a constitutional amendment in the National Assembly to end the role of provincial assemblies in the creation of new provinces if the PML-N opposed the resolution already adopted by the Senate and the National Assembly. The government thinks it would sail through both houses of the Parliament on the basis of their two-thirds majority.
In the third and final stage, the political allies would table a bill in the Assembly to divide Punjab. Now, they would not be required to send the bill to the Punjab Assembly for approval in the presence of 21st amendment (proposed).
It may be recalled here that as per the existing constitutional position, if a new province is to be created in any province, the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) will have to pass a bill with two-thirds majority of the total membership which will then be sent to the provincial assembly concerned for adoption, again with the two-thirds majority, and then the President will assent the bill.
The concerned Article 239(4) of the Constitution reads: “A bill to amend the Constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a province shall not be presented to the President for assent unless it has been passed by provincial assembly of that province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership”.
It would be relevant to state here that PML-N had already blocked three resolutions moved by the joint opposition from being presented in the Punjab Assembly on the subject. The PML-N maintains that according to the Constitution, the provincial assembly concerned has to approve a bill and not a resolution already passed by the Parliament to create new province.