The government took another step towards the formation of a new province on Thursday.
A commission for the creation of new provinces in Punjab was constituted by National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza – though only 12 of the 14 members of the commission have been notified. The two remaining names are still awaited from the Punjab Assembly, which has to nominate two provincial legislators to the commission.
A notification to this effect was issued by the National Assembly Secretariat.
The commission comprises Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senators Farhatullah Babar and Syeda Sughra Imam, Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) Senators Kamil Ali Agha and Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri. It also has MNAs Arif Aziz Sheikh, Jamshed Ahmed Dasti, Syed Ali Musa Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League-N’s (PML-N) Tahmina Daultana and Chaudhry Saud Majeed, as well as Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Dr Farooq Sattar.
Mirza constituted the commission on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari. Earlier, the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly had approved the resolutions for the establishment of new provinces in Punjab with an overwhelming majority.
While talking to The Express Tribune, ANP’s Haji Adeel welcomed the formation of the commission, but pointed out some queries regarding the constitutional and financial share of the new provinces, the timeframe and mandate given to the commission. Adeel said that from his understanding of the situation, the commission would be given 30 days to finalise its report regarding the new provinces. “It is nearly impossible to meet the deadline of 30 days, as it is not a simple task to accomplish. There are some extremely important factors involved that need to be discussed in detail, before conceiving new provinces in Punjab.”
Adeel also clarified that the commission’s workings would be confined to Punjab only and not work for the creation of a Hazara or Muhajir province, as no other provincial assembly had passed any resolution in favour of new provinces.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.