A day after President Asif Ali Zardari recommended the formation of a commission on new provinces, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said new provinces should be made “wherever needed to strengthen Pakistan”.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is pushing for two new provinces – Multan and Bahawalpur. But Nawaz said there was a need to make Hazara and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) separate provinces.
He was speaking to the media after inaugurating a sports ground in Lahore on Friday.
On Thursday, President Zardari sent a reference to the National Assembly speaker asking her to set up a commission which will look into the possibility of making Multan and Bahawalpur provinces.
“Zardari’s philosophy on new provinces is based on petty interests as he believes that his party may win the upcoming elections (by using) such issues,” Nawaz said.
Asked about President Zardari’s allegation that the PML-N was behind the demand for a Mohajir province, he said, “It is not befitting the president to play tricks like this. He has set off the debate of new provinces, so he has to face its consequences.”
Nawaz added, “I have great love for my country, I could have called for the division of Sindh (to play politics) but I chose not to.”
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif rejected outright the proposal for a commission, saying that Bahawalpur province did not need the establishment of any panel as it merely has to be reinstated to its original status.
Shahbaz also said he never demanded that Karachi be made a province and that there was ‘mischief’ behind this proposal. He added that there was no room for the creation of a new province in Sindh and that certain elements were exposing their hypocritical attitude in this regard.
The question of who was behind the wall-chalking in Sindh demanding a Mohajir province ‘is no secret’, according to the chief minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.