QUETTA: A resolution to resolve the new provinces issue was withdrawn in the Balochistan Assembly when the proponents of the bill, the PML-Q, could not reach consensus amongst themselves.
The resolution aimed to address the issue of new provinces on a political rather than an ethnic basis.
Abdul Khaliq of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid had tabled a joint resolution asking the federal government for an immediate solution to the issue of new provinces. Debate on the topic was creating a negative impact, they added. The country is already suffering from serious crises and it can not afford more by making new provinces, the leaders said.
Support for this view was far from unanimous however. PML-Q member Habibur Rehman Muhammad Hasani, Awami National Party member Zamaruk Khan, Balochistan National Party-Awami leader Syed Ehsan Shah and independent members Abdul Rehman Mengal and Mir Zahoori Buleidai were in support of creating a Seraiki province.
Hasani added, however, that if a new Seraiki province is constituted, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur should be merged with Balochistan. According to Hasani, the regions were ‘historically’ and ‘traditionally’ a part of Balochistan.
During the proceedings, PML-Q member Tariq Masoori Bugti said the debate over new provinces is a ‘political stunt’. “Rulers have failed to solve problems, that’s why they are raising different issues to divert people’s attention from real issues and conceal their failure,” he said.
Two other independent members, Mir Shah Nawaz Marri and Sardar Aslam Bizenjo, also said this issue had been raised purely for political mileage.
Journalists stage walk-out
Journalists staged a walk-out during the proceedings in protest of the killing of journalist Munir Shakir in Khuzdar.
Provincial ministers Haji Aynullah Shams, Abdul Rehman Mengal, Shahnwaz Marri and Hammal Kalmati came forward to negotiate with the journalists in order to persuade them to end their boycott.
After receiving assurance from the ministers that an investigation would take place into the murder of Shakir, the journalists ended their boycott. The ministers promised to set up a committee to probe the killing.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.