The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf appears to have found common ground with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement as far as the creation of new provinces is concerned and has sought an amendment in the Constitution for the purpose.
“The present constitution has no room for creation of new provinces and the 18th Amendment has made it impossible for the centre to take any initiative,” PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said at a press conference on Thursday. “If political leaders sincerely want to form new provinces, they will have to sit together for an amendment to the Constitution.”
The MQM wants to empower the federal legislatures by amending Article 239 (4), which has vested the provincial assemblies with the authority to form the province. The PTI, on the other hand, wants to replicate India’s States Reorganisation Commission to carve out new provinces in Pakistan.
Despite the difference, the two parties appear to have taken the same stance, which is to deprive the provincial assemblies of the right to make changes to their boundaries.
“The body which will be responsible for the reorganisation or alteration of the provincial boundaries should be formed at the Centre,” Hashmi said.
But he chose his words carefully to not give an impression that the rally for new provinces would also include a Mohajir province in Sindh, where the PTI is attempting to gain a foothold in electoral politics.
Hashmi said that the PTI is opposed to Sindh’s division even though it supports new administrative provinces elsewhere in the country.
“The PPP will frighten the electorate by warning that a Mohajir province will be formed if it is not voted back in power. And, the MQM will offer its voters the prospect of a separate province.”
He accused the political parties in the government of fanning the flames of ethnicity through the issue of new provinces. “The Punjab Assembly approved with thumping majority a resolution tabled for Multan and Bahawalpur provinces. Had the two parties been sincere for creation of these provinces, they would have brought a bill instead.”
The PTI leader said his party will organise a public meeting in Hyderabad on June 22, which will be addressed by party chief Imran Khan.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.
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