LAHORE - The PPP is determined that the parliamentary commission on new provinces will continue its work even without the participation of PML-N, which is seriously considering ‘rejecting’ the commission if its demand for 50 per cent representation is not accepted.

“The working of the commission, scheduled to meet on August 28, would not be affected by the absence of PML-N lawmakers”, said a PPP source amid reports that the opposition party has stopped its two members from attending the meeting.

The National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza had notified the 14-member commission for carving two new provinces out of Punjab. But the PML-N is delaying nomination of two assembly members from south Punjab; reportedly, it has also asked its members to abstain from attending the first meeting of the said parliamentary body.

The PML-N earlier demanded that it should be given 50 per cent representation in the commission so that the ruling alliance could not overrule the suggestions put forth by its members.

Asked why the PML-N was dragging feet on the issue, the PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid replied that it had been a consistent stance of his party that a national commission should be formed to firm up proposals for creation of new provinces out of the existing four federating units. He said the PML-N had also tabled a resolution in the National Assembly’s secretariat demanding formation of four new provinces, which included Fata, South Punjab, Bahawalpur and Hazara.

Talking to TheNation, the Senator said the commission formed by the PPP government was Punjab specific whereas the PML-N wanted its scope to be widened to include formation of new federating units in other provinces also. “We have not seen a single protest or any movement in south Punjab in favour of new provinces unlike in Hazara where a series of violent protests have been witnessed in favour of a separate province”, he maintained. He also raised a question why the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa Assembly had not passed a resolution in favour of Hazara province despite a popular demand.

On the question if the PML-N legislators would attend the first meeting of the commission, Mr Rashid said he would not answer the question. “You will come to know about it on the day the commission meets for the first time”, he added.

It may be recalled here that the parliamentary commission has been mandated to formulate recommendations regarding boundaries of the new federating units in Punjab and other related issues like distribution of financial resources, readjustment of seats in the National Assembly, the Senate and the provincial assemblies etc.

Earlier, the Speaker National Assembly had sought names from heads of different parliamentary parties in the National Assembly, the Senate and the Speaker Punjab Assembly regarding formulation of the national commission in the light of presidential reference. Since the PML-N did not nominate any of its members from the National Assembly and the Senate, the NA Speaker nominated two PML-N legislators, Begum Tehmina Daultana and Chaudhry Saud Majeed on her own.

Other members include Farhatullah Babar, Syeda Sughra Imam, Haji Muhammad Adeel, Kamil Ali Agha, Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, and MNs Arif Aziz Shaikh, Jamshaid Ahmed Dasti, Syed Ali Musa Gilani, and Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar.

The president has sent a reference to the Speaker National Assembly regarding formulation of the commission on new provinces following passage of two resolutions, one by Punjab Assembly and the other by National Assembly supporting creation of two new provinces in south Punjab.