President promises creation of Bahawalpur, South Punjab provinces soon
By: Shoaib A Raja
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Friday asserted that the government would fulfill its promises vis-à-vis the creation of Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces, and added that the idea of separate provinces was not a ploy to target any particular individual or group, but rather was a part of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nation-building process.
He also called upon parliamentarians and notables to mobilise, reach out and connect with the masses and place the issue of the South Punjab province in its correct perspective and context.
Addressing a delegation of notables and parliamentarians from Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Zardari said that the PPP had taken the first concrete step with the help of its allies in tabling and adopting a resolution in this regard in the Lower House of Parliament. He added that he looked forward to the early constitution of a commission that could look into the legal and logistical issues of the creation of a separate province and initiate the process of making amendments in the Constitution for this purpose.
The delegation thanked the president for taking an active interest in the issues of South Punjab and for attempting to remove the grievances and sense of deprivation of the people of the area. They also acknowledged and appreciated the reference made by the president to the Speaker of the National Assembly for constituting a commission to look into the finer details of creating a separate province.
President Zardari reiterated that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was an egalitarian party that firmly believed in the nation-building process and not merely in the politics of sloganeering or getting votes. He said the PPP harboured nothing but sincerity for the people of South Punjab, which was why it had promised to create a separate province for them in accordance with their aspirations and legitimate demands.
The president said that the party and government would continue to push for a separate province during its tenure, and that this would further strengthen the federation by addressing the issues of fair distribution of resources, creation of economic opportunities, and legislative and administrative empowerment as well as other key issues.
The visitors also touched on the difficulties being faced by the people of South Punjab including the prevailing energy crisis, and brought various developmental bottlenecks to the president’s attention.
In response President Zardari said that the government was making every effort to improve the power crisis and lessen the people’s suffering. He said that necessary financial arrangements had been made to meet the fuel requirements, and added that rising water levels in reservoirs meant that the situation would get better soon.
The delegation included MNA Makhdoom Shahabuddin, MPAs Muhammad Tariq Amin Hotyana, Mian Muhammad Ali Laleka, Sardar Muhammad Afzal Tatlah and Chaudhry Shaukat Mahmood Basra. Haider Zaman Qureshi, Rao Ijaz Ali Khan, Iftikhar Ali Chishti Jatla, and Amjad Majeed Qureshi were also present during the meeting.