ISLAMABAD - Since the voice to launch a movement for creating a new province in Southern Sindh comprising urban areas of the province came from the group comprising former Sindh Assembly members and provincial ministers as well as former office-bearers of MQM, yet the Mutahidda has not formally supported the demand to divide Sindh province.

“Indeed, it was an individual act, MQM has never been in favour of division of Sindh. The party is not backing this idea; we are not in favour of it,” MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil told TheNation here on Monday.

Sources said that the party might examine all the aspects for launching this demand by the members of the party soon.

It would not be out of place to mention here that the demand for new province came on surface when recently the assemblies both national and provincial recently had adopted resolutions in favour of Southern Punjab and Bhawalpur.

Surprising to many, the PPP with the support of allied parties (if not ANP) brought a resolution for the support of Southern Punjab in the National Assembly that created ripples in the political situation of the country, which already is witnessing a heated debate soon after the conviction of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. The idea of the new provinces is not only confined to the National Assembly as such resolution had also echoed in the Punjab assembly.

It is pertinent to mention here that MQM members from New York in its demand also mentioned that if Seraiki and other provinces could be established, there was a bigger need to create one in southern Sindh.

They reportedly argued that when the creation of new provinces is being discussed throughout the country, and the provincial assemblies are passing resolutions and legislating in this regard, the demand for another province in Sindh couldn’t be ignored.

The issue of provinces was first discussed in the 39th session as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the floor of the house had assured in the last NA session to discuss the matter of new provinces in the next session. On May 3, the National Assembly passed two resolutions - one reposing confidence in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who the opposition thinks is no longer prime minister after being convicted by the Supreme Court; and the second supporting a call for the creation of a new Seraiki province in the south of Punjab.

Reportedly, the MQM celebrated the resolution on the Seraiki province in Karachi because in principle more provinces would brighten its chances of spreading out from the city and becoming a national party. As for the ANP, it had to sew up a more complex bargain on the basis of an unspoken pledge to not support the Hazara province movement.

When all is said and done, however, no province can be formed unless the Constitution is amended and the provincial assemblies have also voted with a two-thirds majority. It is to embarrass the PPP’s allies, perhaps, that the PML-N too submitted a resolution for the formation of four new provinces: Bahawalpur, Fata, South Punjab and Hazara.

In the long run, even this counter-manoeuvre may be good for Pakistan’s governance because of the devolution of federal powers it implies. Finally, was it a mere political manoeuvre? Reports says the answer to that would have to be an unequivocal ‘yes’, but many significant developments in the history of states take place as political ploys.

The creation of a Seraiki province has been a high priority for the people of the southern region of Punjab and the PPP has exploited that to water down the PML-N’s dominance.

This began in March 2011 when Mr Gilani stated that “the formation of a Seraiki province would be part of the PPP manifesto for the next elections”.