ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday took into confidence the parliamentary party of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over his government’s decision to move a bill in the National Assembly to create the new south Punjab Province. Though rifts have emerged within the ruling party over the selection of the capital for the new province, the parliamentary party decided that it would reach out to all opposition parties to bring a consensus on the bill.

The PM also assured the party lawmakers to resolve their issues and grievances at earliest.  The PM was quoted as saying in the meeting that on-going development projects in the provinces would be completed on top priority. He further said that primacy should be given to resolve issues of lawmakers at the constituency level.

A meeting chaired by the PM himself on Wednesday had decided that the ruling party will table in the National Assembly within a month to create a new south Punjab province as part of the party’ election manifesto. The PTI government has initially decided that an additional chief secretary and additional inspector general of police would be appointed for south Punjab and one of them would sit in Multan and the other in Bahawalpur and that the secretariat of the new province would start functioning from the start of the next fiscal year—July 1. The government needed two-third majority to get the bill on new province passed and for this purpose, it required support of the two opposition parties— the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).  The Chief Whip of PTI in the National Assembly Aamir Dogar during the parliamentary party meeting showed his reservations about the absence of ruling party lawmakers in the session. “Some lawmakers remain absent from the house at a time when an important legislation has to be tabled,” Dogar was quoted as saying by a senior lawmaker of the PTI.