Multan - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said the PTI government is serious for the creation of South Punjab province.

The PTI leader while addressing a news conference in Multan said that a bill to this effect will be presented before the parliament. He said the opposition parties should demonstrate open heartedness and support the government in fulfilling the demand of the people of this region.

The Foreign Minister said it has been decided to make functional the South Punjab Secretariat by the first of July this year. One part of the secretariat will be established in Multan and one in Bahawalpur.

Qureshi said that elected representatives of local region would decide about place for capital of South Punjab province. He said there was a confusion that south Punjab’s secretariat was being made in Bahawalpur.

He added that it was not true. Elected representatives from South Punjab would decide the place for capital of the new province of south Punjab, Qureshi clarified. Qureshi stated that some elements were bent on creating confusion among people of the local region.

Earlier, a strong reaction from local citizens surfaced at social media that secretariat would be established in Bahawalpur. Creation of south Punjab province is part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) manifesto. People of local region gave mandate to PTI in election, he stated.

PTI is making sincere efforts for south Punjab province, he maintained,

 

 

 

 

 

adding that PTI would move bill in assembly soon and the government would also try its best to seek support for the new province from Pakistan People Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML N).

He however, urged upon local elected representatives of PPP and PML N to extend support towards south Punjab province.

 

 Qureshi urged MPAs and MNAs from PML N and PPP to think about politics. PTI is not interested in taking any kind of credit on south Punjab province. However, it is ready to give credit to other political parties, if they extended support in this regard.

 

“As PTI lacked required majority for amendment in constitution for creation of new province, so it decided to set up secretariat to facilitate people. No amendment is required for establishment of civil secretariat in the region”, he maintained.

 

During consultation meetings for south Punjab province, some people wished that Multan should be capital of the new province. They extended their logical arguments in favour of Multan.

 

Similarly, some others wished Bahawalpur as capital of south Punjab. In meetings, they discussed various administrative and financial requirements for new province. It was decided that two officers, additional chief secretary and additional IG, would be deputed, he informed.

 

 PTI strongly believed in devolution of power at gross root level, Qureshi said. “PTI wanted to move forward for civil secretariat during April”, said Qureshi. However, it would be completely functional by July 1st, he added.

 

“In case, there was no consensus about place of the secretariat, then south Punjab assembly would decide about it. In democracy, the majority’s opinion is always honoured”, said FM.

 

About decision of secretariat at this time, Qureshi remarked that the decision showed political determination and sincerity of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf.

PTI wished that problems of people should be resolved at their door’s step. Establishment of secretariat was a clear step towards south Punjab province and no other political party could reverse it in future.

 

Qureshi remarked that Multan and Bahawalpur were easily accessible for the people of the region. They could get their problems resolved within a day at local secretariat, he said.

 

Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Mian Shehbaz Sharif to extend cooperation for south Punjab province.

 

 He stated that leadership of opponent political parties should cooperate and also take credit. Qureshi also maintained that PTI government was also introducing “ring fence concept” for utilization of earmarked funds locally.

 

He also urged masses, intellectuals, journalists, local representatives and others to avoid any confusion and move forward for creation of the province. 

 

The development of Multan is linked to development of Bahawalpur and vice versa. Similarly, development of Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan was also linked to Multan and vice versa. So people should not fall prey to any misunderstanding or confusion and extend maximum support towards the province.

 

Responding to a question, Qureshi stated that if PTI had not taken any step towards establishing the secretariat, opponent would criticise it and term it political point scoring only.