A serious snub to the PPP’s enthusiasm for the new provinces of South Punjab and Hazara has come from its party’s own leader, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Senator Raza Rabbani, who warned on Friday that taking the issue directly in the National Assembly is unconstitutional. He stated categorically that the issue must first be discussed at the provincial level and any resolution on the issue must first be passed by the concerned provincial assembly.

This is in line with the constitutional requirements that give precedence to the people of the province themselves to decide such matters. Mr Rabbani who is known for speaking his mind freely got it right when he said that debating the issue directly in the National Assembly is reflective of a centrist mindset. And even once the provinces have given their judgement with a majority vote, the National Assembly and the Senate still need to come up with a two-thirds majority to actually form the new province. Just other day the matter of creation of South Punjab was brought up in the Punjab Assembly but the MPAs showed utter disinterest in it and did not start a debate. It is contrary to the rules that the matter has been taken to the National Assembly. To add insult to injury, Prime Minister Gilani claimed on Friday that the government has the two-thirds majority in both the houses of Parliament. He then urged the ANP and MQM, both of which have been crossing swords in the assembly for the past few days, to evolve a consensus over the formation of Hazara province. On Friday, a temporary truce was struck between the two sides through the intervention of President Zardari.

These shenanigans appear to be nothing more than a political stunt to divert the public’s attention from the pressing problems of the day. The Prime Minister talks about removing the sense of deprivation which only smacks of hypocrisy since even after four years he is paying virtually no heed to the problems of the masses, hard put eking out a mere existence.  The political football of new provinces that the PPP government has kicked into Parliament is wasting precious time that could have been spent on setting other, more pressing matter right. The parochial sentiment that is being fanned by the PPP is to the detriment of the golden principle of unity that founder of the nation Quaid-i-Azam had so fervently exhorted the countrymen.