ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the quarters concerned to form a parliamentary commission for carving out a new province from the territories of Punjab.
The president issued the directive during a meeting on Friday with a delegation comprising notables and parliamentarians from Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar districts in the Presidency.
According to President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar, the president said he looked forward to early constitution of the commission that would look into the issues involved and initiate the process of formulating the required constitutional amendments.
The meeting was informed that the president had been sent a reference to National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza for constituting the commission to look into the issue of creation of a province for the people of South Punjab.
The president tried to dispel an impression that the province was being created for political gains and to weaken a political party in the province.
The spokesman quoted the president as saying: “Parliamentarians and notables should go to the masses and put the issue of South Punjab in the correct perspective that the creation of a separate province was not aimed against anyone, but a part of nation-building process led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).”
The president reiterated that the PPP was an egalitarian party which believed in the nation-building process and not merely in the politics of sloganeering or getting votes.
The PPP, he said, was sincere to the people of South Punjab and that was why it promised a separate province to them keeping in view their aspirations and legitimate demands.
“The party will continue making all efforts to fulfil its promise during its current tenure,” he said.
It was reiterated that making a separate province was part of PPP’s nation-building process and the party would further strengthen the federation by addressing the issues of fair distribution of resources, creation of economic opportunities for people, legislative and administrative empowerment and other issues of major concern to the people of South Punjab.
Mr Zardari said the party took the first concrete step with the help of its allies and adopted a resolution in the lower house of parliament.
The participants also spoke on host of issues with special reference to the problems being faced by the people of Southern Punjab, including the prevailing energy crisis.
They also brought to the attention of the president various development issues of their areas.
The president said the government was making every effort to ease the situation with regard to the power shortage.
He said that with necessary financial arrangements having been made for meeting fuel requirements and rising water level in the reservoirs, it was expected that the situation would improve soon.
The delegation thanked the president for his interest in the issues of South Punjab and removing grievances and sense of deprivation of the people of the area.