The leadership of the Bahawalpur National Awami Party announced its opposition to the recent moves by several leading political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, to support the creation of a new province in the Seraiki belt of southern Punjab and called for Bahawalpur’s provincial status to be restored.
The party, which consists of several leading Bahawalpur politicians, including many from the former ruling family of the pre-independence Bahawalpur princely state, argues that creating a Bahawalpur province is less threatening to the federation since it does not rely upon ethnicity to carve the boundaries of a new federating unit.
Their views have been echoed by many political analysts, who believe that Pakistan’s political and military establishment may find the idea of a Bahawalpur province easier to stomach, especially since it would a restoration of a status that the district enjoyed between 1947, when the princely state acceded to Pakistan, and 1954, when all of then-West Pakistan was amalgamated into “one unit”.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.
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