Speaking to a group of PPPparliamentarians in Multan at Yousuf Raza Gilani’s house, President Zardari must have found it a bit out of place to announce that the PPP lacks two-thirds majority to be able to form the Seraiki province. That he should have told much earlier to his party leaders who in a quest for point scoring were promising to the people from the Seraiki belt that there was no stopping the party from giving them a separate province.

Our leaders are aware of the fact that parochialism would ultimately result in splitting the country into many pieces, yet they preach it openly. President’s realism now confirms the reality that creating a province in the south of Punjab would have opened up a can of worms; first, the parties themselves won’t agree despite Gilani’s assurance to the gathering that the PML-N would acquiesce to the plan. Second why does Punjab need to be rent asunder when the balm to its wounds is more of an administrative nature. Greater autonomy with increased focus on development is actually needed. Now the leaders of the South Punjab especially those from the constituencies where provincialism has been more pronounced, should work to undo the damage done to the federation. Those who have cashed in on people’s sense of deprivation, rather than assuaging it through giving them opportunities for a better life, are culpable of weakening the bond that unites Pakistan.