“We will not accept a Bahawalpur-South Punjab province at any cost. We will shed the last drop of our blood for the restoration of Bahawalpur province,” Bahawalpur Awami National Party (BANP) Chief Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi said on Friday.
He was addressing a gathering of some 8,000 people at the Fareed Gate Chowk.
He said the PML-N and the PPP were trying to mislead the people in Bahawalpur as well as in the southern Punjab.
“But this no a joke, nor are people’s lives a sitcom.”
Referring to the strength of the gathering, the nawab said that the “ocean of people from Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalnagar” spoke volumes about what the people wanted.
In Bahawalpur state, he said, nobody ever went hungry.
Health and education facilities were exemplary, he added.
He said three nawabs had laid down their lives in the service of the people of Bahawalpur.
“Nawab Bahawal Khan Rabay was murdered in 1866, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan in 1899 and Nawab Bahawal Khan was poisoned during Hajj in 1960.”
He said he, too, was willing to lay down his life for the cause. He said he feared no one, but Allah.
He regretted that despite passing a resolution and setting up a commission, first the PPP and then the PML-N had backed out of their commitments.
He said the PPP had betrayed late Benazir Bhutto by not keeping her promise made to the people of Bahawalpur.
BANP President Muhammad Farooq Azam, a former federal minister, said that some people had spread false rumours that that Nawab Abbasi had ‘sold out the movement’.
He said that former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had spent Rs236 billion on Multan, but had not spent a single penny on Bahawalpur. He said his party and the people demanded that the Bahawalpur province be created before the elections.
BANP Central Information Secretary Muhammad Javed Khan Daulatzai, former nazim of Sadiqabad Mir Fazalur Rehman and Farmers’ Board Pakistan Central Deputy President Jam Hazoor Bakhsh Laar also addressed the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.