RAHIM YAR KHAN: Leaders belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), Bahawalpur National Party (BNP), and the Movement for Hazara province gathered together and collectively raised their voice on Wednesday demanding provincial status for Bahawalpur.
The public gathering in Rahimyar Khan was attended by 20, 000 people from the tribal belts of Punjab, Cholistan region and the Bahawalpur division.
Speaking on the occasion, the member of the royal family of Bahawalpur state and chairman BNP Nawaz Salahuddin Abbasi, said that if the government fails to declare Bahawalpur a province, the case would be taken to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and would be dealt in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan and the agreement with Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Criticising the Punjab government and Shahbaz Sharif, he said that if they were loyal and sincere over the issue, they should pass a resolution calling for provincial status for Bahawalpur in the Punjab assembly.
PML-F leader Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood said that the demand for Bahawalpur province did not oppose the Seraiki province. “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has wrongly linked [granting] Bahawalpur province status with the Seraiki province issue,” he said, adding that Seraiki province should be created but not at the cost of the rights of the people of Bahawalpur.
Chief of Movement for Hazara province Baba Haider Zaman, while speaking at the event, suggested that the issues of new provinces was being milked for political gains by the goverment. “Seraiki province is the right of the people,” he asserted. He further said that all those asking for new provinces including the people of Hazara district and Sindh are right and that their demands should be addressed rationally.
“Sufferings of the people of Hazara district at the hands of rulers in Peshawar are similar to the sufferings of the people of southern Punjab under the rulers in Lahore,” he said.
JI Provincial Chief Dr Waseem Akhtar highlighted that Bahawalpur is a prosperous and viable economic state and that the people’s demand for the provincial status is reasonable.
MPA PML-N Mian Imtiaz Ahmed also addressed the gathering and divisional PTI leaders including Sheikh Fayazuddin and Seth Javed were present during the event. The PTI leaders announced their support for the Bahawalpur province movement and all other similar movements.