New provinces demands set to haunt N govt

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government will soon be landing in troubled waters as the resolution submitted with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for creation of Hazara province may easily get the affirmative nod of the provincial assembly with two-thirds majority and land in the National Assembly for legislation on it.

The matter of concern for the government in Centre is that the provincial and National Assembly members from Hazara division, irrespective of their political affiliations, are united on the issue and no one in the area could dare oppose it, as it would bring one's political career to an end.

The resolution on Hazara province would likely be taken up in the upcoming session of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly starting from September 10 and as the creation of new provinces was also part of the manifesto of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, so the chances of its approval from the provincial assembly with two-thirds majority seem imminent.

The Hazara province demand would bring a lot of pressure on the PML-N government from southern Punjab and Bahawalpur division as previously PML-N-led government in Punjab had adopted a resolution with almost voice vote for creation of two new provinces in Punjab instead of just Janoobi Punjab province comprising the Seraiki speaking areas of south Punjab.

The matter could even take an ugly shape in the absence of Federal Law Minister, the portfolio right now with Prime Minister, as the government has not done any homework in this regard so far.

But sources in the PML-N were of the view that the legal team of the government is fully alive to the situation and it has completed its homework and when the matter would come in the court of the federal government, they would tackle it in most appropriate fashion. These sources said that PML-N was not averse to creating new provinces anywhere in the country and for the purpose they wanted a uniform approach to tackle this sensitive issue to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

A senior party leader on condition of anonymity informed The Nation that they would not mind if two more provinces would be carved out from Punjab as they had already given their mind in shape of resolution adopted by the Punjab government with voice vote.

He, however, said that new provinces should be created all over the country where needed to have better administration and the same should not be created on the linguistic or ethnic basis. He further informed that the government would take up the issue of creating new provinces at the platform of Council of Common Interests (CCI) and in consultation with the provincial governments and major political parties would form a national commission to come up with the detailed report on creation of new provinces across the country.

A political analyst commenting on the situation said that the demand for creating new province comprising Hazara division would trigger a chain reaction and there will be demands for creation of new provinces particularly in Punjab where the matter had seen a lot of progress during the last days of previous government but finally dumped because the then Punjab government led by Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif had made the parliamentary commission on creating new province in the Punjab controversial for not giving them proper representation in it.

It is interesting to note that against the former coalition government's move to carve out a new province out of the existing Punjab comprising Seraiki speaking areas, the PML-N-led Punjab government had come up with the demand of creating two new province in the Punjab including Seraiki province and restoring the status of Bahawalpur as a separate province.

The matter failed to see the daylight and hit controversies as the people struggling for creation of new province comprising Seraiki speaking areas also fell divided on the matter and finally the whole exercise was dumped.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt