Former law minister Babar Awan has seconded the proposal by Javed Hashmi, senior vice president of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), that new provinces should be made in Punjab.
Hashmi, speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday, had said that Punjab should be divided into four provinces to make it more manageable. Several calls for new provinces have been raised in the region, particularly in Bahawalpur and southern Punjab.
Awan told reporters at the Supreme Court building on Thursday that Hashmi’s statement is in accordance with the constitution. “Making new provinces is a constitutional requirement. If new provinces were not required, it would not have been mentioned in the constitution,” he said.
Making new provinces, he said, is not “child’s play” and constitutional requirements have to be considered for such a step.
Criticising Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for making statements against Seraiki and Potohari speakers, Awan said that the voice of the Seraiki-speaking people cannot be suppressed. “He [Shahbaz] needs to correct himself. Potohar region represents an ancient civilisation of the world. “Primeval civilisation of the world is in Taxila and Multan used to be the capital of many governments before the creation of Pakistan,” Awan said. “Shahbaz’s statement is a violation of the constitution.”
He said that the Sharif brothers need to change their style of governance as the voice for new provinces cannot be suppressed.
He said that the opposition has submitted a requisition in the Punjab Assembly for an early session, therefore the speaker should summon a meeting as soon as possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.