LAHORE - The PPP, which supported the formation of a national commission on new provinces only a week back in Punjab Assembly, now seems disinclined to accepting the demand made by the Assembly through its resolutions also seeking carving out of two more provinces out of Punjab.   

The PPP, along with other political parties, had then supported these resolutions, demanding of the federal government to set up a national commission to settle the constitutional and administrative matters concerning demarcation of new boundaries of the proposed provinces.   

“There is no need for forming any commission in the presence of the Parliamentary Committee which already exists and has worked well to evolve consensus on three constitutional amendments”, said a PPP parliamentarian while talking to TheNation. Besides, he added, the PML-N would not only create hurdles in the formation of a commission, it would also prevent building of national consensus on formation of ‘Janoobi Punjab province’.

He was of the view that once the commission is formed, the PML-N would throw spanner in the work by raising the issue of division of Sindh where there is no genuine demand for more provinces. The source further stated that PA resolution demanding formation of a national commission was not binding on the federal government which intended to take the matter to the Parliamentary Committee.  It may be recalled here that since the surfacing of PPP’s demand regarding formation of a new province comprising south Punjab, it has been a consistent stance of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that government should form a national commission to settle modalities of new federating units.

In a related development, despite the fact that PPP had also supported a separate resolution on restoration of previous status of the State of Bahawalpur, its leadership also seems reluctant to accept Bahawalpur as a separate province.

Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa’s recent statement should be an eye opener for proponents of Bahawalpur province who dropped a clear hint to the media men a few days back that the proposed bill to be presented in the National Assembly on ‘Janoobi Punjab province’ would also include Bahawalpur Division into it, meaning thereby that PPP wants creation only one province comprising the entire southern belt. 

Another PPP source confided to this scribe that in case of PML-N’s refusal to sit in the Parliamentary Committee or lack of consensus on the issue of ‘Janoobi Punjab province’ the government and its allied would then get a bill passed with two-thirds majority also including Bahawalpur Division into the proposed federating unit, and send it to the Punjab Assembly for approval.

After this, he added, the PML-N would be in a state of dilemma. “If the PML-N did not oppose the bill, the PPP would succeed in its objective of giving a separate province to the people of south Punjab; and in case of opposition to the bill, it would stand exposed before the people of southern Punjab and hence lose its vote bank there”, he maintained.