ISLAMABAD (Agencies) – As the parliamentary commission on new provinces in Punjab gave final touches to its recommendations the deep turbulence at Monday’s proceedings made the purported plan and the commission itself even more controversial.However, despite protest walkouts and notes of dissent from opposition JUI-F and coalition government partner ANP, the majority of the commission members signed the recommendations that would be presented to the National Assembly speaker today (Tuesday).The main opposition party, PML-N, is already boycotting the commission while the only opposition party participating in the proceedings, JUI-F, on Monday protested over the composition of the proposed Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab province.JUI-F’s Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who proposed making Dera Ghazi Khan part of Balochistan, submitted a dissenting note on three recommendations of the commission. The JUI-F leader also opposed inclusion of Bhakkar and Mianwali in new province and supported restoration of Bahawalpur as a separate province.Another note of dissent was filed by ANP, a partner of the PPP-led coalition government. ANP parliamentary leader Haji Adeel, while submitting a note of dissent, walked out of the meeting when two other allies, the MQM and PML-Q, demanded carving out of Hazara province out of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Adeel also suggested that parliamentarians from Bhakkar, Mianwali and Bahawalnagar must be consulted over inclusion of these areas in the new province in Punjab.Bitter acrimony over Hazara province made way between Haji Adeel and PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha Khan, who also filed a note of dissent and proposed that their request for Hazara province be included in the report of the commission. MQM’s Farooq Sattar also raised apprehension by saying that new provinces should be formed in the country where these are needed on administrative grounds.The dissenting notes of both the JUI-F and the ANP were enclosed with the commission report. But the demand of MQM and PML-Q for Hazara province was rejected by the commission. Talking to the media after the meeting, commission head Farhatullah Babar said the commission had given final shape to its recommendations. He said the nation would soon hear a ‘good news’ regarding formation of new province in Punjab. He sought the assistance from PML-N President Nawaz Sharif on new province.Meanwhile, a shutter-down strike was observed in Mianwali and parts of Bahawalpur on Monday against the proposed province. In Multan, Saraiki Party and Saraikistan Qaumi Ittehad (SQI) staged a protest at Chowk Nawan Shehar against the proposed name. In Ahmedpur tehsil of Bahawalpur, lawyers and trader groups observed a strike against the proposed bill.As per reports, the parliamentary commission has officially recommended establishment of one new province in Punjab with the name of Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab. The new provincial assembly would have 124 members. The commission was of the consensus that Bahawalpur would be the capital of new province. Apart from the PML-N, members of other parties have in principal agreed to the establishment of new province.Haji Adeel Khan of the ANP said that they wanted to include Mianwali because of the water barrage. He said there were two resolutions of the Punjab Assembly which should be considered. He said that the commission was not mandated to propose any other province out of the provinces other than Punjab and it cannot take up Hazara province issue as well.Talking to The Naiton JUI-F Secretary General Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that historically Dera Ghazi Khan had been part of Balochistan and people of the area are against its inclusion in the new ‘Seriaki’ province. He said that he was receiving telephone calls from the people of Dera Ghazi Khan who are opposing the purposed move.JUI-F central leader said that he had also opposed the new nomenclature of the province whose abbreviation is same as the name of extremist Hindu party BJP. He said his party was also against the inclusion of Bakkar and Mianwali in the proposed province right now and he suggested in the meeting of the commission that people of these districts should be asked about their will in this connection.To a question Haideri said that during the meeting he had stressed on the point that they should focus on the contents of the resolution adopted by the Punjab Assembly wherein there was demand of restoration of the old Bahawalpur Province and creation of a new province comprising the rest of the Seraiki speaking areas in the southern Punjab but the commission worked on entirely different lines.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 29-Jan-2013 here.