ISLAMABAD - The commission constituted with great pomp and show by Speaker National Assembly for carving out new provinces in Punjab hit the snags and now both the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are blaming each other for the fiasco, reducing highly sensitive matter into mere election campaign issue.

The 14 members commission under the head of Senator Farhatullah Babar, a loyalist of President Asif Ali Zardari, became controversial from the day first, and it could not proceed beyond a few meetings of preliminary nature wherein the members from main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) boycott the proceedings while the two members, one each from treasury and opposition from Punjab Assembly, were never nominated by the Speaker Punjab Assembly.

The commission for creation of new provinces was formed on August 16. It was given one-month time to furnish its recommendations to the Parliament but now more than three months have passed but there is complete silence on part of the people at helm of affairs.

The members of the commission were clueless about its fate while the chairman of the commission Senator Farhatullah Babar was not available for comments on the matter, while both PPP and PML-N are preparing strategies how to use the issue as tool to belittle each other during campaign for upcoming general elections.

Among so many things, making Senator Farhatullah Babar, the presidential spokesman, as chairman of the commission was the major reason for turning it controversial and the matter came under severe criticism. Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan was the first to speak out on the issue by saying that President Zardari has installed his loyalist to handle a highly sensitive issue. While the way Speaker National Assembly Dr Fahmida Mirza had nominated the members of PML-N in the commission on her own also invited criticism from the opposition quarters and turned the whole exercise dubious.

Setting aside the political consequences of going into hibernation of the commission for the political stakeholders in Seraiki belt, political analysts said that the failure of the commission to come up with something concrete had brought frustration and dejection to the general public inhabiting the southern Punjab. Pakistan People’s Party MPs from the area saw no negative fallout on their politics in the area and were of the view that they would rather cash on in the given situation by exploiting what they termed the treacherous role of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in the whole saga.

PPP sitting MNA from Rahimyar Khan Mian Abdus Sattar said that everybody knew it well that who had stalled the move of creating new provinces in Punjab but he disagreed that this issue would become the focal point of the election campaign.

It is Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz) indifference toward the problems of the backward southern Punjab districts which has given impetus to the struggle for creation of southern Punjab province he said and added that had they treated all the districts even-handedly the things would not have been so worse.

He brushed aside the impression that PML-N would play with the public sentiments by placing the failure in the basket of ruling coalition and added that in the face of vibrant media it would not possible for anyone to hoodwink the masses on any issue anymore.

On the other hand PML-N MNA from southern Punjab Ch. Saud Majeed, who is also member of the 14-member commission, dispelled the impression that PPP would gain something extra out of this issue in the upcoming elections and said that people knew it well that Pakistan People’s Party was never serious about creation of new provinces in Punjab and all what they had done was political gimmick.

To a question he said that he was not in picture why the commission turned dormant and quickly added that PPP just wanted an issue to keep their vote bank intact in south Punjab but in the face of vigilant media it would not possible to befool masses anymore and this trick on part of PPP would miserably fail in the upcoming elections.

Political analysts said that Pakistan People’s Party had mishandled a highly sensitive issue of creating new administrative units, all over the country and not only in Punjab, is need of the hour but the way political elite across the spectrum had politicized the matter has put this important issue in disarray like the way the politicians had done with the Kalabagh Dam issue.