Seraiki province a right for marginalised in south Punjab: Gilani

Published: April 21, 2012

Prime minister says he will continue the mission of Bhuttos. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Continuing his campaign for a Seraiki province in south Punjab, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the people of south Punjab had a sense of deprivation for a long time and the only solution for it was a separate ‘Seraiki’ province for them.

“Marginalised areas have the right to have a separate province,” he asserted.

He paid tribute to Taj Mohammad Langa for the Saraeki province movement.

I will continue the mission of Bhuttos: Gilani

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday that he would continue the mission of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto despite all challenges and obstacles.

“If I abandon the PPP, President Zardari, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Benazir Bhutto then I am a pious man, otherwise a ‘traitor’,” he mocked, before adding, “but I will prefer death over compromising on principles.”

“I am being pressurised to betray the PPP, but I am loyal to the party because I am a custodian of the seat of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and I can never do anything unconstitutional,” he said.

The Prime Minister was addressing a big public gathering after inaugurating the construction of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Bridge in Rajanpur.

The project, which will cost Rs 7 billion, and authorities are claiming to complete it in 10 weeks, if so, it will be a record for a project like this. The bridge will connect N-5 national highway with N-55 and reduce the distance between Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur by 150 kilometers.

Prime Minister Gilani said both Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had laid down their lives for Pakistan and democracy.

A lot of conspiracies have been hatched to finish the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) but it always emerged as a popular and strong political party, he added.

“The people, who cannot face us in elections, are hatching conspiracies, but due to a vibrant media and civil society they cannot derail democracy,” he said.

The Prime Minister brushed aside the allegations of not respecting the institutions, asking that how could a party, which gave the 1973 Constitution to the country and then restored it, would not respect the institutions.

Series of development projects launched in Rahim Yar Khan

Prime Minister Gilani said the construction of Nishtar Ghat Bridge was a dream of Benazir Bhutto which he has now realised.

He also announced Rs 50 million as a first installment for Chachran Model City and Rs 100 million for Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Cadet College.

The Prime Minister said he has issued orders for issuance of the second installment of Watan Cards. He said that Rahim Yar Khan would also be getting an engineering university soon.

The Prime Minister on the occasion also announced restoration of 400 NCHD employees.

He also directed the National Highway Authority to pay compensation to those, whose land had been acquired for the construction of the bridge.

The Prime Minister also announced Rs one million for Khanpur Press Club and a water supply scheme for Feroza Town.

Regarding rising unemployment, he said that he has instructed the Finance Ministry to create 100,000 new jobs in the coming budget.

He also announced compensation for the victims of Khanpur bomb blast.

The Prime Minister also announced construction of a flyover in Rahim Yar Khan and said that gas projects in the area would be completed soon.

Gilani visits shrines of Khawaja Ghulam Fareed

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani went to Kot Mithan in Rajanpur on the shrine of sufi Saint Khawaja Ghulam Fareed from Rahim Yar Khan. He paid homage to the sufi saint and his services and also offer prayers. Prime Minister ordered to give funds for the renovation of the mausoleum and also give orders to enhance the Khajwaj Ghulam Fareed library declaring it a great asset of the Seraiki region.

Talking to the current successor of the sufi saint, Khawaj Moinuddin Mehbob, he said that teachings of the saint has always saved the real image of Islam which believe in giving identity to all people and spending life with inter religious harmony and giving space to all people to practice their lives on their believes and faiths.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Pakistan Khan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:59PM

    Well done PM. The only solution to the underdevelopment and marginalization of Saraiki belt is a separate Saraiki province. I am sure, now very people who have never visited South Punjab will criticize him. Well, there is need to learn from East Pakistan fiasco. If you don’t give people there right, there is always “second” option. After all Pakistan is not a “holy” cow!

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  • Yasir Malik
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:06PM

    Sir keep on flaming the lingual hatred and many people will support this hatred as this is directed towards one community which is the most hated in Pakistan. Administrative basis division is the only solution. Provinces based on languages will not benefit at all. It is just a hate campaign and nothing else. I have a question to prime minister that had he ever heard of Nationalism or hegemony of one language speakers in Upper Punjab or not??. In Upper Punjab no one differentiates on the basis of language but you are now fuming division on the basis of language in South Punjab and want to marginalize some only on the basis of language. The Punjab name is derived from land of five rivers and anyone living here and accepting its traditions is a Punjabi but now a hatred based definition is originating in Punjab based on one language so that PPP can take votes.

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  • Yasir Malik
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:14PM

    @Pakistan Khan: Pakistani Khan the second option you talked or i think dreamt about cannot be fulfilled in Punjab and Pakistan is more than a holy cow for us. Keep on dreaming this in your regions of separation from Pakistan based on blaming one ethnicity for all of your miseries. It is the easiest thing in the world to blame others and then blackmail them for your own shortcomings and for your own mistakes but it is very difficult to overcome and rectify your own problems.

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  • Ahmad
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:30PM

    The most incompetent PM in Pakistan history..

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  • Asif Khan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Well if Saraiki sooba is being made by ppp then a new Muhajir sooba must also be made in what is presently Sindh. The ppp should start this good work from the province in which it has over two-thirds majority.
    PPP should immediately announce the formation of a new Muhajir sooba as the Muhajirs deserve a new province of their own. They’ve sacrificed a lot for Pakistan and now deserve a new Muhajir sooba.

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  • Rehman
    Apr 21, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Mr Prime Minister the definition of Punjabi is not connected to one language. It is more like a geographical and cultural one. So why you are trying to divide people in punjab based on language basis. In North Punjab even a person who cannot speak Punjabi and speak Urdu but can be a Punjabi if he follow the traditions of Punjab. Ever heard of one language domination in upper Punjab???. The success of Upper Punjab is in integration of communities based on cultural values but when people will divide on the basis of language in South then it will hamper any integration of communities like we have seen in Karachi and even in KPK right now.

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  • Cheema
    Apr 21, 2012 - 11:46PM

    I belong to central Punjab BUT I have serious issue with people who talk against Seraiki province. Our brethren have every right to have a separate province. This mindset of G T road will destroy Pakistan if not crushed. There should be a western Punjab province along with Seraiki as well. Let this toxic mindset be constrained within the confines of Lahore-Pindi.

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  • Yasir Malik
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:00AM

    @Cheema:

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  • Yasir Malik
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @Cheema: Cheema sahib i am also in support of Provinces and i am from Central Punjab as well but i want it on pure administrative grounds.You know in Central Punjab it is not like that One language speaker is represented while other is not and all are happy as a one Society. My idea is simple that make more provinces as much as you want but don’t create it on the basis of one language but make it on pure administrative grounds as Administrative division is the best solution. I have visited Karachi recently and i know how much Toxic a soceity is which is based on division on language. In Karachi everyone is divided and even areas are marked on the basis of language The toxic mindset arises when you try to differentiate among each other on the basis of language and try to carve out a territory on the notion that it belongs to one peculiar language speaker. It is just like carving a province in Karachi where Urdu Speakers live while disregarding others.
    So I will again stress that We should always say yes to administrative division but we should say No to any linguistic division.

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  • Hairaan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:07AM

    This man should have better been in the capital supervising the events after the air crash instead of fanning ethnic hatred among Pakistanis.

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  • Maria
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:31AM

    @Pakistan Khan: You seem to forget that Punjab is the best managed and governed province in Pakistan where there is no discrimination based on ethnicity. That’s why Pashtuns, Baluch, Kashmiris, Sindis and Muhajirs from India don’t seem to have any ethnic issues in Punjab like in Karachi. Even the leader of Punjab is an ethnic Kashmiri which shows the tolerance of the province. With the continued development of Punjab along with its growing middle class and push for education, South Punjab will also develop. There is no real feudalism in Central or Upper pUnjab but with the formation of a separate Seraiki South Punjab, the only bastion of feudalism in Punjab will now only remain further entrenched. We all know Punjab is leading the nation’s current development; I fear we will only prevent the development of South Ounjab and make it as unstable as the other provinces of Pakistan if it were made a separate province with another layer of provincial bureaucracy.

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  • jahandad
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:52AM

    respected prime minister, it hurts when the leader of our country speaks in a narrow beem of personal sights of interests,and keep the entire national interests behind,,,,,,,you should speak for entire Pakistan ,,,and all people,,,,if you specify just seraiki[i am not against their rights]then you are inflaming more than 100 types of other linguistic, cultural, geographical communities to raise up ,and demand anything for a small district town even village ,, then who has the legal rights to stop them,,,,,,,,,,,,,,SIR,sensitive issues should not be politicized ,,rather should be thought over in greater national interests,,,,YOURS well wisher,,,,,,

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  • MUNIB
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:15AM

    After plundering the nation for 4 years , in last election year the thief woke up for the “marginalized” people . . . we understand this drama well MR. PM

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  • Faizan Jaatt
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:50AM

    So you want to divide Punjab ? What if the Punjabis revolt and throw Iraqi settlers in our region back to Iraq. Punjab has been here since 5000 years, Mr. Prime Minister your ancestors came here only 500 years back.

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  • akhroot
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:40AM

    Punjab has already been divided in 1947 and indian Punjab afterwards as well, i don’t see what the issue is to divide it again?

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  • Mirza
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:05AM

    If Bangladesh would not become a free country it would still be the poorest province of Pakistan and under occupation from far away “brothers”. In a relatively short time they have become a secular democracy and making economic progress. Their Grameen micro banking is a leading example for most third world countries of the world. We have heard the dire predictions about the future of BD when it wanted only autonomy and not full independence. However, we would not give any nationality their basic rights to live on their own in dignity and manage their own affairs.

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  • shaz
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:10AM

    By the way, Mr. Prime Minister, who marginalized whom? If you are only talking about Bahawalpur, D. G. Khan divisions, wouldn’t you end up marginalizing 40% non-Seraiki population? If you extend boundaries of Seraiki province to other divisions/ districts, are n’t you plan to marginalize majority on non-Seruaki population? Being representative of all, would you be fair enough to allow non-Seriaki population to have their own province within this region/(s) as per their population? Why do you want to deprive Seriaki belt to demand financial resources to be distributed according to a formula agreed at national level to address financial concerns? Why can’t you allow decentralization or devolution of powers at the grass-root level to let whole region benefit instead of a city called Multan? If you are not creating new posts for your sons as Chief Minister and ministers, wouldn’t it be appropriate to go for devolution before division to let the masses to benefit too? Will you be able to get prior approval from Sindh to let Seriaki province its due due water share from the Indus? It took 150 years to get water apportionment accord agreed, would you be willing to wait for another 150 years to renegotiate and agree to new water accord? Why can’t you use your influence to move capital from Lahore to say a junction of all communication infrastructure like centrally located city of Khanewal instead of destroying an economically inter-dependent unit of Punjab? Remember what Clinton used to say during his election campaign: it is economy, my dear prime minister! Balkanization of Punjab is surely damage the entire country. Why are we bent upon to have another mega model of Karachi in Punjab? Are you sure that after such scenario created, Pakistan can survive such suicidal attempt? Is this a revenge of democracy that PPP has talked about as part of its manifesto?

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  • Pakistan Khan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:15AM

    @Yasir Malik:
    Well, first of all its not your place to suggest what is best for the Saraiki people. They have every right to demand their own province. And what is wrong with formation of a province on lingo-ethnic basis? And where were people like you in last 64 years when nobody cared about Saraiki belt? Have you ever visited these areas? Have you ever tried to help them? And for your information it is very recent that Saraiki belt became part of “your” Punjab. It was Ranjeet Singh who annexed Saraiki belt with “your” Punjab. Throughout history these areas have never been part of Punjab. So get your historical facts straight. It is a historical fact that when East Pakistanis were being killed people of “Punjab” were rallying in favor of military operation. And for God’s sake don’t give us lecture on patriotism. We love Pakistan more than you do. Pakistan does not belong to only Punjabis ! What I am trying to say is things can get worse if Pakistani establishment does not realize the gravity of situation. Asking for rights is not treason!

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  • Cheema
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:39AM

    @Yasir Malik

    My dear Yasir Malik, that is why there should be a west Punjab province along with Seraiki in the south. Now if they want to call it Bahawalpur or Seraiki wasiab, who are we to argue. My only problem is this G T road mentality of, WE know what is good. NO sir, we are not the thekeydars of Pakistan. The problem is that our media gang is 90% from G T Road just like the current rulers of the province. Let this truncated area do what they want (spend what they want in Lahore and rule the folks who voted them as their saviors) and let West and South Punjab be free of this Mafioso grouping. I say that with a heavy heart but a clear mind.

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  • Qaisrani
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:26PM

    @bravo mr Cheema.

    If there were more people like you in Punjab before,i am sure Pakistan would have been much better place.Thanks for your support to Saraikistan.SImilalry you know better what is called”GT Road mentality”.Thanks again.

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  • sunder khan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:10PM

    Our corrupt PM is spreading ethnicity in the country. His stance, primarily for his personal gains, is causing divisions in the country. All sane and patriotic citizens of Pakistan should condemn politics of opportunism and ethnicity.

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  • geeko
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:51AM

    The whole country is marginalized by a government which was reminded of the plight of Seraikis some months before the end of their mandate… you don’t pull out a province like a rap song lyrics, it needs complex administrative work (division of the borders, where the Seraiki soobha begins and ends, …) and I guess that now only the next government could do it.

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  • Vigilant
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:01PM

    This is sensitive topic……i belonged to seraiki belt…..born their and have lots of relatives living their……no doubt….one of the most backward areas of Pakistan…..not a single science Degree college in whole sub-division and students have to travel hours for studying….but i will not suggest division on lingual basis……it should be on administrative basis…..and should not be called seraiki province…..

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  • Shamila Sadaf
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:43PM

    It is tragedy that such corrupt persons are ruling our country. People should reject PPP and its candidates in the coming elections. These corrupt people have ruined our country.

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  • sunder khan
    Apr 23, 2012 - 5:54PM

    @Shamila Sadaf:

    You can take it from me that the same corrupt lot is going to be re-elected to rule Pakistan for the second consecutive term may be this time with much improved majority. During the last four years the people holding the top slots in the Government have made so much of money that they will have no problem in buying the voters in the rural areas. Use of money is going to be the deciding factor. Sadaf, we shall have to live with the same corrupt lot till the people of Pakistan rise in revolt to get rid of the entire rotten lot.Our younger and educated generation has to play the desired role to save their country from the political vultures.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 23, 2012 - 6:32PM

    The present Government cannot solve the real problems of Pakistan so it must resort to achieve symbolic successes like the creation of new provinces!

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 23, 2012 - 6:38PM

    @Sunder Khan
    “You can take it from me that the same corrupt lot is going to be re-elected to rule Pakistan for the second consecutive term may be this time with much improved majority. During the last four years the people holding the top slots in the Government have made so much of money that they will have no problem in buying the voters in the rural areas. Use of money is going to be the deciding factor. Sadaf, we shall have to live with the same corrupt lot till the people of Pakistan rise in revolt to get rid of the entire rotten lot. Our younger and educated generation has to play the desired role to save their country from the political vultures.”
    I agree with you particularly since PTI and Nawaz League would split the votes between them making PPP the winner in Punjab also.

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  • Pakistan Khan
    Apr 23, 2012 - 9:46PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:
    Your comment is so funny. You give the impression if you are the only sane person in this country! And who are you to say that people of rural areas can be bought. For your kind information it is these poor people from rural areas who go to polling stations to cast their votes. The people like you just continue giving lectures sitting at home and don’t even bother to cast their votes. Well! if people give second chance to the current ruling party, it is their choice.After all it is a democracy! And it has become fashionable to just call anyone corrupt in this country without any evidence.These things have become outdated.And for your information don’t take common people as fools. They are much more enlightened than the so-called educated in this country. And it is not your place to call any party corrupt without any evidence. Let people decide. After all we are not living in a autocracy or dictatorship. So if you don’t like democracy than move to somewhere else.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:54PM

    @Pakistan Khan
    I do not like to get personal. As for who is corrupt there is evidence in the Swiss Courts which was stopped from proceeding because of an institutional and powerfully based person. This actually is denial of justice and the great Supreme Court of Pakistan is still trying to get the matter taken to its logical conclusion. So let us wait and see. As for the rural people, poor are subject to the wadera system particularly in Sindh and Southern Punjab, especially those tillers that depend on the land of the landed “aristocracy.” These usually are influenced by buying or bullying. So, so much for the much trumpeted democracy that is apart form this, is based on electoral votes with millions of bogus entries. And, even with bogus votes not a single party in the country has bagged more than fifty percent of the votes. This is so when majority has abstained from voting. This is not democracy but a sham. People are being cheated in the name of democracy. Only when people rise can we hope to achieve a genuine revolution that might bring in a truly representative government.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 23, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Instead of agitating on peripheral and parochial issues, let us concentrate on solving the problems that affect the majority of the people of Pakistan. And, it is quite unrealistic to equate the Seraiki situation with that of pre-independence Bangladesh. There is no likelihood of Seraiki secession now or in the future.

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