REPORTEDLY, the commission on new provinces is at the very outset facing a host of issues of a technical nature. Amongst the biggest problems is the fact that the constitution does not provide for a new province. According to Article 239(4) of the constitution, provincial boundaries can be redefined but the creation of an altogether new federating unit is another matter entirely. The four provinces that are mentioned in the constitution will continue to exist; just their boundaries can be changed, on the condition that the assembly of the province votes it through with a two-thirds majority.
The fuss that was being made by the previous prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, those seeking ministries or other key positions and the self-interested should now die down. … The childish and careless way in which this issue has been handled in Pakistan allows us to easily assess how eagerly the self-serving are seeking to attain their goals.
Every proposal regarding the redefining of provincial boundaries, as has been mentioned in the constitution, should be welcomed. No harm would be done if the Punjabi-speaking Dera Ismail Khan division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was merged into Punjab if its people agreed to it. If people feel happier living with those who share their language, they should not be deprived of such happiness. All the pockets in Sindh and Balochistan where any dialect of Punjabi is spoken could also be merged into Punjab. Similarly, no Punjabi should have any objection if all such areas in Punjab where Pushtu, Sindhi or Balochi are spoken are [for administrative purposes] given to the provinces concerned.
The hullabaloo about the potential division of Punjab must now stop. Now that there is a constitutional clarification with regards to the provinces, the issue can be laid to rest. As far as former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and all the others who were eyeing ministries, key positions and the gubernatorial seat in the proposed province are concerned, they must now let some other business take up their time.
Selected and translated by Intikhab Hanif.