ISLAMABAD - Though the matter of formation of new provinces has ostensibly been put on the backburner due to certain reservations of opposition parties as well as coalition partners of the incumbent government, yet MQM is still lobbying with allied parties to get passed an amended constitutional bill about carving out new provinces before next fiscal budget.

"MQM is vying for consensus on new provinces matter at least among the coalition partners, as it is continuously engaged with PPP and PML(Q) on it," MQM sources told TheNation.

The amended constitutional bill for the formation of new provinces including Hazara and Seraiki provinces was recently tabled by MQM in the National Assembly, but consensus could not be evolved due to certain reservations of Awami National Party (ANP) and main opposition party PML(N) and others. Albeit the matter of new provinces, MQM sources said, is currently not being discussed with that intensity at any platform, yet MQM is making all out efforts to get full support of other political forces in this regard.

When contacted, MQM senior Central Executive Committee (CEC) member Zahid Malik said that they were trying for detailed discussion on this issue in the national assembly so that could reach on any consensus before next budget. "Different rounds of talks have been held on this matter, soon the campaign will be reinitiated," said MQM CEC member.

The MQM's bill for the formation of new provinces has been deferred in the 38th national assembly session due to objection and intervention of Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Awami National Party (ANP) on it. PML(N) had even came up with demand of a high-powered commission on creation of new province, while ANP had criticised MQM for raising this issue when it had no seats in  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

The issue of provinces was to be discussed in the 39th session as Prime Minister (PM) Yusuf Raza Gilani on the floor of the house had assured in the last session (38th session) to discuss matter of new provinces in the next session.

Whereas, twentieth amendment bill, law and order situation of Balochistan and other matters dominated till the adjournment of outgoing session. The new province subject was lightly touched in the last session of NA as PML(Q) legislator introduced it but shortly it was deferred due to objection of some PPP MNAs. 

It is relevant to mention here that MQM has full support Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) for the formation of Hazara province but the difference with ANP on this matter is still not resolved.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) bill said Hazara province should be formed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while a referendum should be held in Punjab for constitution of new provinces. It further noted only the Parliament should approve new provinces.