LAHORE - Chairman Executive Council South Punjab Province Tahir Bashir Cheema Thursday said that South Punjab Secretariat will start functioning from 1st of July this year.

Terming it the biggest landmark in country’s history, Cheema said basic structure of the secretariat has been approved along with all SOPs.

“With the establishment of South Punjab Secretariat from 1st of July the fulfillment of the promise of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan made before 2018 elections will become a reality”, he said while addressing a news conference after chairing a meeting here.

Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Mazari, Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry, Syed Ali Abbass Shah, Sardar Shahabuddin Khan Seehar, Sahibzada Ghazain Abbasi, Syed Ali Abbass Shah, Sardar Javid Akhtar Khan Lund, Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Dr Mina Ehsan Leghari,(ex-MNA) Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak, (Agriculturist), Anwar A Khan (ex-civil servant), Javed Iqbal Awan (ex-civil servant) and Athar Hussain Khan attended the meeting.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar had in October 2018, constituted a 13-member executive to do the spadework on creation of the new province. It was then described as the quantum leap by the PTI government to fulfill its election promise of creating a new province comprising southern districts of Punjab.

Headed by Ex-MNA from Bahawalpur, Tahir Bashir Cheema, the executive council comprises Punjab Assembly members from South Punjab and ex-civil servants taken mainly from that region.

Soon after coming into power in August this year, the PTI government had pledged to take the preliminary steps for creation of the new province in the first 100 days. It may be recalled here that establishment of a separate secretariat for South Punjab is in line PTI’s commitment made with members of Janoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz (JPSM) just before the July 25 vote. Senior politicians from South Punjab had then formed the JPSM close to the last general elections to press the demand for a separate province for the people living in the southern region of Punjab.

Later, they had agreed to contest election on the PTI’s election symbol after seeking guarantees from the PTI chief Imran Khan that his party will start the process for making of a new province in the first 100 days if it assumed power after the polls.

In the last general elections, the PTI had won greater number of seats from the southern belt on the slogan of a new province for the southern region. Also, the previous Punjab Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution supporting the southern province. The previous Federal government had also constituted a National Commission on South Punjab Province to workout modalities of a new federating unit. Its report is still lying in the National Assembly Secretariat.

Tahir Cheema briefed journalists regarding the progress made for establishment of a separate province. He said present government is going to take a historic step as no previous government in past 70 years could dare make such a decision.

“All administrative, legal, political and economic obstacles have been removed regarding establishment of South Punjab Province Secretariat. Recently a joint resolution has been passed from the National Assembly in favour of creating South Punjab Province”, he said. 

He further stated that constitutional amendments will also be introduced in this regard very soon and people of the southern belt will be provided basic facilities at local level.

Taking about bureaucratic aspect the secretariat, Tahir Cheema said that the perks and privileges of all the officers of concerned departments for South Punjab Province Secretariat have also been finalized.

To a question, he said that announcement for the place of headquarter of separate secretariat will be announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He believed that establishing an administrative unit will strengthen the federation and the PTI government had no objection over creation of a new province.

He further said that South Punjab Province will consist of Bahawalpur, DG Khan and Multan divisions and 33 percent of the total population of Punjab will benefit from its advantages.