PPP to support centre’s ‘serious’ commitment for S Punjab province

ISLAMABAD – Giving policy statement of his party (PPP) in favour of South Punjab province during Senate session, Leader of the Opposition in Senate and former prime minister Senator Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani assured full support to the government if serious commitment was shown in this regard. 

He rejected formation of a secretariat and demanded a fully empowered province for the people of South Punjab. He said that issue of formation of South Punjab province was very important and some facts must be presented before the House. Gilani said that if a province has to be divided or a province has to be formed out of it, then the first resolution is presented from that province. “In this regard, we introduced a resolution in Punjab province which was passed and then presented in the National Assembly which was passed by the lower house. A commission was formed for this which was chaired by Senator Farhatullah Babar under that resolution. Underlining more details, Gilani continued that the commission prepared a comprehensive report after detailed consultations with civil society, experts, writers, journalists and other relevant stakeholders. 

Gilani rejects formation of secretariat, demands fully empowered province for people of South Punjab

Which was introduced in the Upper House (Senate) and at that time only one member from our party, Senator Khaleda Mohsin Qureshi was present in the Senate. “We are thankful to all the political parties of the time who passed the bill with a two-thirds majority in the Upper House in which the new province was named Bahawalpur South Punjab”, he commented. Yousuf Raza said, “At that time our party did not have a majority in the National Assembly. If it had, the province would have been formed in five minutes. Another important issue raised here is that there is no Secretariat for South Punjab.” He demanded, “Govt should form a province and let the parliament decide on the secretariat. We are being embroiled in the Secretariat affair. We are not the people living in the British system to be given limited democracy.”

He said, “We will get our province and secretariat with a two-thirds majority and this is also the promise of the Prime Minister. It was said by the South Punjab alliance at that time that we would vote for the party which would form the province of South Punjab and the present government had promised to form the province in three months, he added. 

He said that the bill has been referred to the committee by the Chairman Senate for review but the Foreign Minister has raised some important points in it and also endorsed the backwardness and deprivation of South Punjab. We did not have a majority when the bill was passed but the present government has a simple majority and can pass the bill if it wants, he recalled. 

Gilani commented that I would like to inform the Foreign Minister that when the bill came in the Senate, he was not here and this bill was passed by a two-thirds majority. We want province not for a secretariat, he said, adding that when it becomes a province then the capital will also be decided. No one decides on the capital. Parliament will decide where to build the capital. 

He said that when Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had made Pakistan the capital of Karachi, later the Assembly had made Islamabad the capital. We want a province to have a chief minister, a secretariat, a governor, seats in the upper house (Senate) of this province and its own high court. Gilani rejected the secretariat adding that when it becomes a province millions of people will get jobs and prosperity will come.


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