High drama: Lower house up in arms over new provinces report

Published: February 2, 2013

“Mianwali can never be included in South Punjab. We reject this report. This report is in violation of Punjab Assembly’s resolutions. We reject it,” says Rokhri. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

What started as MQM and JUI-F members drawing the legislature’s attention to a ‘burning Karachi’ and demanding a briefing from the federal government, ended with PML-N and PML-Q members tearing up the report of the commission for new provinces in Punjab and walking out.

Opposition in the eventful session of the National Assembly on Friday, lasting only 30 minutes, caused an uproar the moment Member of the National Assembly Arif Aziz Sheikh submitted the parliamentary commission on new provinces’ report.

“Mianwali can never be included in South Punjab. We reject this report. This report is in violation of Punjab Assembly’s resolutions. We reject it,” said PML-N MNA Humair Hayat Rokhri, before tearing the report into pieces.

We (Mianwali) are located in the province’s north western part,” Rokhri claimed, before walking out in protest and saying the report would be rejected in the Punjab Assembly.

“This act is a violation of the rules of the house,” was MNA Nadeem Afzal Chan’s reaction to Rokhri ripping up the report. Chan was conducting the proceedings in place of the National Assembly speaker.

Besides Rokhri, Chan only allowed PML-N MNA Zafar Ali Shah to speak, who also rejected the report.

Sardar Shah Jahan of PML-Q and Laiq Muhammad Khan of JUI-F from Hazara Division, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) joined Rokhri and other PML-N MNAs in protest against the report for leaving out their region and staged a walkout. Jahan said his party colleague Kamil Ali Agha had already given his ‘note of reservation’ over the commission’s inability to discuss the creation of a Hazara province in K-P.

Munir Orakzai from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) also walked out. “The report in its contents nowhere mentions Fata as a prospective new province. All Fata members would reject this report,” Orakzai claimed.

Privilege motion

Following the NA session, Leader of the Opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, submitted a privilege motion in the assembly secretariat against the commission’s report.

The motion, signed by 90 PML-N MNAs, maintained that it breached the privilege of the house as it violated their parliamentary prerogative of representation in the commission. The commission was constituted against the presidential reference only by the NA Speaker and did not include the members who were stakeholders, it added.

“The commission should have included experts with knowhow on the matters of provinces’ division, besides those who were directly the stakeholders like people from central and north Punjab,” PML-N MNA-N Anusha Rehman told The Express Tribune. 

PML-Q’s note of reservation

A member of the commission, PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha signed the report with his note of reservation, in which he maintained that the commission failed to consider his party’s demand to acquire a mandate for the creation of Hazara province.

“Our resolution of the Hazara province was pending in the National Assembly and I repeatedly asked the commission to acquire necessary powers from the prime minister and the president to forward the resolution to the K-P Assembly for further action but it was not done,” Agha stated in his note.

ANP’s note of reservation

Awami National Party’s Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel maintained in his note that members of the Punjab Assembly, particularly those from the three districts of Bahawalpur, Mianwali and Bhakkar should have been invited to express their views on the issue.

He added that the mandate of the commission was clear and was limited only to the division of Punjab. “Any other suggestion about the division of any other province was clearly beyond its mandate,” he said.

Demarcation

The commission report presented three models for the division of Punjab.

However, it suggested that the “province may comprise three existing divisions of Punjab namely Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions and the two districts of Mianwali and Bahawalpur.”

The reason to include the two districts was that various factors, including feelings of deprivation, under-development, geographical contiguity, administrative needs, social homogeneity and water resources laid the basis for their inclusion in the proposed province.

Distribution of resources

The commission noted that constitutional provisions existed to determine the distribution of resources between the provinces. These were Articles 153, 154 and 155 relating to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) which was further strengthened by the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

It said that the Water Accord, 1991 may have to be revised to provide for the share of the new province of Bahawalpur South Punjab. “Article 155 (1) of the Constitution further provides the mechanism for addressing disputes in water issues.”

Articles 156 and 160 were quoted as dealing with economic and financial matters arising from carving up Punjab.

Walkouts over Karachi, Balochistan

Earlier, some PML-N and JUI-F members walked out of the NA session over the continuing violence in Karachi and governor’s rule in Balochistan.

MNAs Birjees Tahir and Asia Nasir demanded that Interior Minister Rehman Malik be summoned before the house for a briefing on the steps being taken by the government to improve the city’s law and order situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Junaid
    Feb 2, 2013 - 3:22AM

    Further division – Unacceptable!

    Recommend

  • Blithe
    Feb 2, 2013 - 3:55AM

    This is unacceptable by the PPP.

    We will not allow any division of Punjab –
    over our dead bodies!

    Recommend

  • truth
    Feb 2, 2013 - 4:18AM

    There should be more administrative units as provinces to strengthen federation…..just one province is not a solution.

    Recommend

  • SK5
    Feb 2, 2013 - 6:13AM

    A new province will create a new administration which can focus soley on southern punjab. By this division, PMNL won’t be eating up the people’s funds which is the reason why they are protesting. More provinces create easier administration, public expenditure funds will be more focused on the minor cities of the province and not just Lahore. Look at the U.S. population of 300 milion, 50 states similarly our neighbours Iran 70 Million people, 30 states. Good move by the government, although I’m not a PPP supporter.

    Recommend

  • Blithe
    Feb 2, 2013 - 6:33AM

    If PML N cannot defend integrity of the federating unit of Punjab,
    they will be thrown in dustbin of history by all Punjabis .

    Recommend

  • Ikash
    Feb 2, 2013 - 6:49AM

    More and more preoviences means powerful and wealthy nation…….commission should not only divide punjab.,,,,, most importanr is start division from blochistan..so that voice of azadi will be wiped out and the resource will be utilized properly….Recommend

  • Faisal
    Feb 2, 2013 - 9:31AM

    Its a conspiracy to take all of Indus out of Punjab

    Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Feb 2, 2013 - 10:02AM

    Pakistan could be divided into geographical units the size of English counties. Perhaps we could have 500+ counties, each administrative unit managed at the local level. That way everyone and everybody will have a say in what and how things are done and all could enrich themselves beyond anything that has happened so far. It is the intention of the people who govern Pakistan, to become wealthy and buy themselves immigration to somewhere in the West. If the Moguls could do it so brazenly by being so selfish while ruling India, then why not the son’s of the Moguls who govern Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Qaisrani
    Feb 2, 2013 - 10:58AM

    It seems era of injustices to poor Saraikis is about to end. Long live PPP and President Zardari for giving poor Saraikis what is their due share within Pakistani federation.
    P.S now Punjabis must learn to live with the resources which they have in their own”Sohna Punjab”. Let Saraikis be equal citizen of Pakisan too.

    Recommend

  • Shaami
    Feb 2, 2013 - 1:54PM

    @Qaisrani: Fear Not We are educated enough to do the wonders. Also My friend is coming up with the nationalistic party and i am going to be the first member of that party and Inshallah Now Punjabiat will rise in Upper Punjab and Punjabi and English will be the Official Languages of Upper Punjab and we will no longer be the slaves of Urdu who is now ought to destroy our identity and our land. Sohna Punjab >>>>>>>>>>Sohna Pakistan. We are Pakistanis but mess with us and then we are not Pakistanis but Punjabis first.

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