The resolution for the 20th constitutional amendment by MQM for the creation of Seraiki and Hazara provinces was widely welcomed in Hazara division.
The MQM tabled a bill in the national assembly on January 2 for amendment in Article 239 (4) that empowers provinces to pass a bill seeking alteration in their limits. Hazara comprises six districts including Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and Torghar. The demand for declaring Hazara as the fifth province has gained curre in the late 1980s. The demand gained momentum last year following the adoption of the 18th amendment when the NWFP was renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa sparking riots across Hazara. Tehrik Suba Hazara, Hazara Qaumi Mahaz, Tehrik Huqooq-e-Hazara (THH) and others vehemently opposed the move and took out protests. Seven citizens were killed and over 100 wounded when police opened fire at the charged protesters on April 12, 2010 in Abbottabad.
The PML-N and PPP, who faced scathing criticism for supporting ANP had to tacitly second the idea later but since they had initiated the 18th amendment they preferred to sit on the fence. Ali Ashghar Khan chairman THH and PTI’s member executive council said political parties would be forced to take clear stance on the provinces and move beyond the rhetoric.
Advisor to the Prime Minister Syed Qasim Shah said the government would ensure the creation of the Hazara province before the next election. Yousuf Ayub Khab former district nazim and provincial minister criticised MNAs and MPAs from Hazara for their silence.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2012.
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