ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday formally requested the National Assembly to act upon the resolutions passed by the National and Punjab assemblies and set up a commission for the creation of two new provinces, Multan and Bahawalpur.
A press release issued by the National Assembly secretariat highlighted the directives by the president in his letter to the Speaker National Assembly, which stated that in reference to the resolution passed in the NA in its 41st session on May 3, 2012, a new province ‘Janoobi Punjab’ (south Punjab), previously referred to as Multan province, be created in order to address the grievances of the people and secure the political, administrative and economic interest of the people of the area. He also mentioned a similar resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly, demanding the parliament and federal government to create a south Punjab province and also to revive Bahawalpur’s status as a province.
The letter added that a 14 member commission should be constituted to expedite the process, comprising six members from the Senate, nominated by the Chairman, six NA members nominated by the Speaker and two Punjab Assembly members nominated by its Speaker.
The commission shall look into matters pertaining to constitutional, legal and administrative matters.
Zardari has suggested that the commission submit its report to NA speaker and the prime minister within 30 days of its notification, which will be followed by the initiation of the process of amendment of the constitution.
The following is the full text of the president’s letter:
1. The National Assembly in its 41st Session in its meeting held on May 3, 2012 passed a resolution to the affect that in order to address the grievances and to secure the political, administrative and economic interest of the people of the southern region of the province of Punjab and to empower them in this regard, a new province to be known as province of ‘Janoobi Punjab’ be created from the present province of the Punjab. The provincial assembly of Punjab has also passed a similar resolution demanding the parliament and the federal government to create a new province of Janoobi Punjab and also to revive the earlier status of Bahawalpur as a province (copies of the resolutions are annexed)
2. In order to implement the aforesaid resolutions and before a process is initiated to amend the constitution in terms of Article 239 thereof it is expedient that a commission may be constituted comprising of six members from Senate to be nominated by the Chairman, six members from National Assembly to be nominated by the Speaker and two members from the provincial assembly of Punjab to be nominated by the Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab. The Commission shall look into the issues relating to the fair distribution of economic and financial resources, demarcation, allocation/readjustment of seats in the National Assembly, Senate and the concern provincial assembly and allocation of seats in the new province on basis of population, including seats of minorities and women and other constitutional, legal and administrative matters. The provision of the constitution which would require amendment inter alia include Articles 1(2), 51, 59 and 106 of the Constitution.
3. The commission shall submit its report to the Speaker as well as to the Prime Minster within thirty days of its notification in the official gazette, which will be followed by initiation of the process of amendment of the constitution.
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