Punjab Assembly: Resolutions on new South Punjab, Bahawalpur province today

Published: May 9, 2012

A resolution is not enough to allow for the alteration of provincial boundaries. A bill must be passed with a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

LAHORE: The opposition in the Punjab Assembly, led by the Pakistan Peoples Party, has called for a session on Wednesday where a resolution pertaining to the creation of new provinces will be tabled.

Usually, the opposition benches as opposed to the government benches call for a Punjab Assembly session due to a poor law and order situation, wheat procurement issues or inflation. But the opposition has specifically called for a session demanding the formation of a South Punjab province.

Following the opposition’s move, Punjab Law Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah submitted two resolutions on Tuesday to the provincial assembly speaker – one pertaining to the creation of a South Punjab province, and the other to the restoration of Bahawalpur province.

Sanaullah’s resolutions

According to the content of Sanaullah’s South Punjab resolution, the house urges the federal government to fulfil all legal formalities under Article 239 of the Constitution in the way of formation of South Punjab province.

According to the content of the resolution on Bahawalpur, the people of Bahawalpur province have been struggling for the restoration of the status of Bahawalpur province for decades. The house admits their struggle in this regard. On the basis of these facts, the house demands the immediate restoration of Bahawalpur province under Article 239 of the Constitution.

Opposition’s resolution

Last week, the PPP-led coalition government passed a resolution pertaining to the formation of South Punjab province in the National Assembly with a majority. Meanwhile, the PML-N submitted its resolution in the NA secretariat pertaining to the formation of four new provinces including South Punjab, Fata, Bahawalpur and Hazara. However, the PML-N’s resolution has not yet been entertained by the NA secretariat.

The opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) jointly submitted resolutions in the PA secretariat four days back following the NA resolution. PPP Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the PA Shaukat Mehmood Basra said that the opposition would force the speaker to entertain their resolution in the agenda of the session.

Strategies uncovered

However, under Article 239, a resolution is not enough to allow for the alteration of provincial boundaries. A bill must be passed with a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament. Once this is done, the bill must be sent to the provincial assembly which should once again endorse the amendment with a two-thirds majority of the house. The bill is then sent to the president for his signature.

At present, the PPP led coalition government does not have a two-thirds majority in the NA for the passage of the bill, which is why it only passed a resolution from the NA, giving the impression that a resolution was enough for the prerogative to now lie in the hands of the provincial assembly.

PML-N countered PPP’s resolution by moving two resolutions itself to force the government on the back foot. According to a PML-N leader, by moving two resolutions in the PA, it would win votes in both South Punjab and Bahawalpur. PML-N would convey the message that the PA has passed the resolution, but the federal government remains reluctant to move the bill in Parliament.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Muhammad Ali
    May 9, 2012 - 1:23AM

    Now that new provinces are being made, a resolution for making South Sindh a new province must also be moved in the sindh assembly.Since the ppp is so actively working for making south punjab a new province,it should also work as aggressively to make south sindh a new province.

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  • Saif Siddiqui
    May 9, 2012 - 1:25AM

    Smaller provinces will make governance better and easier.South punjab,South Sindh and Hazara provinces are a step in the right direction.Karachi and hyderabad have increased in population a lot over the last few decades,they need to be made into a separate province at the earliest.

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  • Adeel Khan
    May 9, 2012 - 1:29AM

    So when is the resolution for the Mohajir sooba being presented in the sindh assembly?

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  • DevilHunterX
    May 9, 2012 - 1:53AM

    After Punjab we need 2 more provinces in Sindh, Baluchistan and KP

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  • Zamir Malik
    May 9, 2012 - 2:04AM

    Please ET as usual you are towing the line of Ruling PPP. Sorry to say but PMLN is in favor of South Punjab and Bahawalpur while PPP is in favour of Seraikistan which is totally different thing as South Punjab is based on administrative basis while Seraikistan is based on ethnic and linguistic lines. So be specific that PMLN is leading the South Punjab movement and not the other way around and PPP is not favoring the South Punjab and Bahawalpur but PMLN wants it.

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  • Mirza
    May 9, 2012 - 2:48AM

    If it is not politics then what is it? PML-N does not want a new province in S. Punjab. At the same time it wants four provinces all at one time! To the opponents of S. Punjab province it is not right to break Punjab into two, but fine if we disintegrate it further? The two small provinces in S. Punjab would not be a match for the Lahore Throne, hence the demand of two not one.

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  • Muhammad Usman
    May 9, 2012 - 7:54AM

    Good move. Bhawalpur and south punjab new provinces. PPP asked for it. But Mark my words ppp will oppose this. They will face the wrath of sindh people. This is like giving 50 extra senate seats for Punjab.

    Punjab, south punjab and Bahawalpur 75 senate seats .

    This will first step in the division of sindh.

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