Make new provinces or risk another Balochistan: MQM

Published: January 2, 2012
Farooq Sattar says referendum is needed, envisions a Hazara province of six districts. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Farooq Sattar says referendum is needed, envisions a Hazara province of six districts. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: A ‘Balochistan-like situation’ could emerge if two new provinces — Hazara and South Punjab — were not created ‘immediately’, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) warned on Monday.

Addressing a news conference at the National Press Club, MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar, flanked by Haider Abbas Rizvi, other members of parliament and the party’s central executive committee, said the creation of the provinces  are the ‘need of the hour’, in order to remove a sense of deprivation amongst the people of the two regions.

The 20th constitutional amendment bill has been tabled in the National Assembly, which seeks the creation of new provinces, Sattar added. He said that on the instructions of their chief Altaf Hussain, MQM became the first party to include in its manifesto the demand for the creation of a province in Punjab and Hazara.

Sattar said that the creation of ‘one or more’ provinces in Punjab as well as the creation of a Hazara province has become ‘unavoidable’, because it is necessary for the political and economic solidarity of Pakistan. The latter, he said, was only possible by making the people stakeholders in the political process.

The resources of South Punjab, Hazara

Both South Punjab and Hazara are blessed with natural resources, Sattar highlighted, adding that it was regrettable that in spite of fertile land and cotton and sugarcane crops, there was ‘not a single engineering or agricultural university’ in the south of the province.

Hazara Division, he said, was likewise full of minerals and forests, but neither of the regions had been given their due rights. In order to give these regions a constitutional identity, Sattar emphasised, there should be a referendum. The referendum would decide whether one or more provinces should be created in South Punjab. The MQM leader also urged other political parties to ‘join hands with the MQM in this struggle’.

MQM chalks out a plan

Sattar also provided details of the MQM’s proposed vision of a Hazara province. According to Sattar, the proposed province will consist of six districts: Mansehra, Abbottabad, Kohistan, Haripur, Batagram and Torghar.

Replying to a question as to whether the MQM was interested in making Karachi a province, Sattar said the administrative affairs of the city were running ‘very smoothly’, and there was no need to make it a province.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • muhammad imran
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:24PM

    so,will we see a new province in sindh? a new muhajir sooba?


  • Hairaan
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:30PM

    Dr. sahib Baluchistan is itself a province and yet have problems. This shows that just creating provinces is not a solution.


  • sidrah khan
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @muhammad imran:

    well,if mqm is trying to make new provinces out of punjab and kpk,then it must also submit a resolution for a new province in sindh? why only target punjab and kpk only?


  • Jan 2, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Here MQM is talking about the hour need for new provinces, so why this thing is mingled with new province in sindh. yes there is strong need for southern punjab and hazara sooba


  • Saleem
    Jan 2, 2012 - 8:15PM

    MQM, which is coalition partner of PPP, is equally responsible for deprivation of people. Diverting people’s attention for creation of a new province does not absolve PPP, MQM & ANP from their duties. Talk is cheap. Solve people’s problems rather than keep coming with empty slogan. Start first with Karachi, where you govern and show what you can do.


  • Jan 2, 2012 - 8:20PM

    Yes , it is good to learn that almost every political party on the scene does not oppose the making of new provinces as’ Saraiki and Hazara. Indeed it will have very good effects on the life of people and the country. Welldone , MQM good initiative.


  • Jan 2, 2012 - 8:29PM

    There should be a national debate for forming more provinces. This debate should be given adequate time (say) one year, so people of all provinces participate in it fully. More provinces makes sense and it would bring provincial administration closer to the people. The example of India is before us, which keeps creating more states all the time. The possibility of splitting Sindh, Punjab and KP into three provinces each and Baluchistan into two provinces should be considered seriously.

    However, the task can only be undertaken by a genuine and a representative Federal Government, which has at least two to three years term left, to follow through on the process. The current lifeless Government is hardly in a position to undertake a task of such national import.

    To implement a proposal to create new provinces, a referendum needs to take place once national debate has concluded. The proposal to create more provinces should require a simple majority of voting public in each province. Thereafter each of the four provincial assemblies should debate and approve the proposal by at least two third majority. If the proposal fails any one of the first two steps, the proposal dies for the time being.

    Once the proposal passes the first two stages, National Assembly & Senate should go ahead with a constitutional amendment to create more provinces in accordance with the proposal approved by referendum and all four Provincial Assemblies unanimously. This is the proper and democratic way of resolving an issue of great national importance. Followed in this manner, the process will involve all stakeholders fully.

    MQM & PPP’s proposals to create more provinces ring hollow, after they unanimously approved a resolution in Sindh Assembly not to split Sindh into more provinces. If they are really sincere and serious about this, they should begin by repealing the Sindh Assembly resolution.


  • Saleem
    Jan 2, 2012 - 9:30PM

    Creating new provinces is not a panacea of problems that people are facing today; food, jobs, electricity, water, security, gas, CNG……… All you are eyeing is few election victories in Southern Punjab, but how will it affect a commoner? How many of these problems that a commoner faces you were able to solve in Sindh, where practically you been governing since MQM was created? Back up your talk with your record.


  • Jan 2, 2012 - 10:10PM

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf will definitely support MQM on formation of new provinces.


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:12PM

    MQM stand deserves due consideration by the next govt, in Pakistan ?,


  • yasir
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Making more provinces on administrative basis is not a bad thing. As far Balochistan is concerned, the situation is worse there. More than half of the Balochi people are now thinking of getting apart from Pakistan n create a new country. For this purpose, they have started arm movement as well. And with each passing day the situation is getting worse. Thus, if new provinces are to be made then along with the Saraiki n Hazara province, Balochistan should also be divided into two provinces. This will benefit Pakistan in two ways: 1). Due to the division, people from the remote areas of Balochistan can get their right and can rise their voice through an easier and much nearer platform. 2). When Balochistan is divided into two, then the struggle n movement for an independent Balochistan will weaken. Anyway, hope things will get better for Pakistan.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:36PM

    Sindh voluntarily accepted to be part of this federation as per 23 rd March 1940 Pakistan resolution, It was first assembly who passed resolution in support of Pakistan. We are not colonized land and should not accept any forced action to divide Sindh. Our right over our historical land, resources and culture must be respected.Situation will get much more worse than Baluchistan and even out of control if any one plays with the territorial integrity of Sindh.


  • dv sikka
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:47PM

    Divisive policies will simply destroy Pakistan. These guys should use their political clout to give Pakistan an honest government.


  • aaam sheri
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:52PM

    great stance MQM new provinces is the demand of the people of that region !


  • Jan 3, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Problems can be solved if more provinces are made. See in the neighboring countries Afghanistan and India. How many provinces in India? India is three time greater than Pakistan by Area and have 26 states and Afghanistan is smaller than Pakistan having 34 provinces. Great step by MQM.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:12AM

    Dear Farooq Sattar:

    You should be fair with the City of Karachi which has taken MQM (A) as well you in person at the heights of the politics in Pakistan.

    You are talking to declare Saraeki and Hazara as separate provinces and do not talk of making Karachi as a separate province due to one simple reason that MQM(A) Governor is not the Governor of Karachi alone, but he is Governor of entire province of the Sindh.

    Put your right hand on your chest and tell me frankly that how many people from Karachi after obtaining Domicile and PRC of Karachi City have been given jobs in the Federal or the Provincial Government of Sindh?

    MQM(A) was first called as Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) and then changed to Muthahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The day MQM (A) group has left the name of Mohajor Qaumi Movement, the same name has been taken by Afaq Ahmed (Haqiqi Group) MQM (H) and Mr. Afaq Ahmed has started talking for the rights of Mohajirs of Karachi after serving a sentence of more than seven years.

    The MQM(A) is looking forward to contest the elections on national basis and that is why you have forgotten the core issues of Domicile and quotas in the jobs for Karachiites.

    This is a clear deviation and violation from your principal stand and it is quite possible that many of your workers may leave MQM (A) group and may join MQM (H) group.
    It is a understood fact that MQM(A) cannot win the elections neither from the Saraeki province, nor from Hazara province and at the same time may also lose the majority from Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur due to your poor party’s planning, similar to PPP.


  • proud sindhi
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:35AM

    we sindhi strongly oppose the division of sindh. just to let my voice heard. and we will go any lengths to protect our motherland.


  • iamshakil
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:17AM

    Why do they only target Punjab? Punjab has been like this since 5000 years, they (MQM) have been here for 63 years. Punjab gave it’s land much like Sindh to Pakistan to form a federation, if anyone tries to divide Sindh or Punjab, they should be held as a traitor of the federation.


  • aysha
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:24AM

    For once please look at it with an open mind, and not simply dismiss it because it has been proposed by MQM (lets not forget that it is the most vocal party in the National assembly with 88% members of MQM participating in debates and not sleeping or going to YouTube out of boredom). It is an administrative need of Punjab and KPK, not of Sindh. So there is no need to take any such action in Sindh. The people of South Punjab are unable to get their share in the present set up, so this should be given serious consideration.


  • Maria
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:57AM

    @Salman Ahmed Baig: Afghanistan and India are not Pakistan and have their own dynamic. If you thing creating more states in Afghanistan has helped stop turmoil there, you are mistaken. All the MQM is doing is try to score some cheap points. In the end, only the people of Pakistan who live in a certain area should decide on whether or not to create new provinces. Let’s face it, the Punjab is the best administered and governed province in Pakistan and the MQM is jealous of that. They want to create another province so there will be another local government there for political purposes. By creating another level of government in South Punjab or Hazara would mean better administration at all but just more politicians and administrators. Now MQM will start their call for a separate Hindustani province for Muhajirs in Karachi which will antagonize native Sindis. They should work for the nation, not for their selfish local interests which is why MQM has no appeal outside of their ethnic group.


  • Faju
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:13AM

    This is not the demand of MQM….This is the demand of the people of Southern Punjab and Hazarah…People who are giving their comments here should know what the people of Southern Punjab and Hazarah are asking for.


  • Azhar Khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 7:59AM

    It was a dire political mistake to move the Capital from Quide Azam’s chosen location for it.
    Karachi is the lifeline of Pakistan. There is no need for a separate Karachi province but this city is in turmoil (Canada’s leading daily The Globe & Mail’s story Jan 2, 2012) and has been labelled by the Globe as the sixth most dangerous city in the world. Demographic wise this metropolis is a perfect mini Pakistan which hosts is residents from all over Pakistan. It is imperative that this city be given a special status in the federation as a Federal Territory with an elected city government like we had before, under the able mayor Mustafa Kamal so that it remains independant in managing its affairs and all political players would have their elected reps in the city council.


  • Falcon
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:54AM

    I am from Southern Punjab, so can only speak for Punjab. I think the call for dividing Punjab for administrative purposes is good because the perception in Southern Punjab is that resources from the provincial government are not being allocated equally (with more resources allocated to Lahore and Raiwind of course). In fact, that is one of the reasons many politicians from Southern Punjab (SMQ, JH, Tareens, etc.) have joined PTI to seek new platform for expressing their concerns. As a whole, dividing provinces will also reduce our broader ethnic divides running across provincial lines.


  • Nahmed
    Jan 3, 2012 - 9:48AM

    Anyone breaking Punjab into pieces will never be spared. Just imagine two new provinces having two governers, two chief ministers, two assemblies, handreds of greedy parliamentarians and others lot of expenses.
    Our already existing 5 provinces are eating up people’s money and we cannot afford another two provinces also based on lingual difference.Recommend

  • Malam
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:52AM

    Division of Punjab is unacceptable. the only province that does not have ethnic political parties is Punjab. Now MQM is trying to do something similar in Punjab as it did in Karachi. Dont try and push Punjab into the fire of ethnic politics. Any move aimed at dividing Punjab will be dealt with severely by the people of the province. Don’t divide Punjab or be ready for the division of Pakistan.


  • Mudassir
    Jan 5, 2012 - 11:57PM

    More provinces, more assemblies, more ministers, more cabinets, more corruption.

    More provinces will only create more divide and hatred, instead of solving problems.

    Our problem is corruption and division on ethnic, political, religious and secterian basis. Making provinces will not set things right.

    Think as a Pakistani.
    Unite, not divide.


  • Dr Raza
    Jan 6, 2012 - 5:56PM

    Dear my Friends,

    The demand of new state or provinces is good for good administration and law and order situation, Look in India they have 32 states if you see resulation 1940 its clear yhat all state shiuld be free in all adminstrative and other policies why we are now start build new Pakistan give empowered all communities and etinic peoples, if Kashmir for Kashmiries Pakhtunikhw for Pakhton Sindh for (old and new Sindhis) Baluchistan for Baluchi why not Hazara for Hazara Peoples and Saraki area for Saraiki peoples please think its good time to do this Recommend

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