According to reports, the stage is now set for the creation of Bahawalpur South Punjab in the south of the existing province. This is no small a development, especially when some would be inclined to question the timing that would serve the PPP’s electoral interest in the Seraiki belt albeit the party might argue that this is the culmination of its campaign for empowering the people down south.

On Friday, Governor Punjab Makhdoom Mahmood held a meeting with Jamaat-e-Islami leaders in Mansoora. There is of course the factor of the Jamaat’s regional leader from Bahawalpur Dr Waseem Akhtar who too advocates a new unit. But where the PML-N’s role is concerned it does not inspire much promise; as it also favours a South Punjab province. A new province could set in motion a train of events starting from the already existing demand for the creation of Hazara to the formation of Karachi as a new province. Obviously, the parochial bitterness breeding resentment in these areas would not go away merely by chalking out new administrative boundaries or renaming them. On the other hand, new resources and cash that could have gone into alleviating poverty and social inequalities would now be earmarked for infrastructure, setting up the officialdom and with a high risk of misappropriation given the ongoing pilferage.