At the centre of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s battle for a separate South Punjab province lies another dilemma – dealing with the demand for the restoration of the Bahawalpur province.
While Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has constantly supported the demand for such a province, the PPP has finally struck a deal which removes this obstacle from the picture altogether; with none other than the Nawab of Bahawalpur himself, Salahuddin Abbasi.
The deal follows an offer from the PML-N which left the Nawab unimpressed. Sources close to Abbasi and privy to the development told The Express Tribune that the deal was struck between him and President Asif Ali Zardari, and will be formally announced soon. Officially, the meeting between the two is said to have merely discussed “social, political and economic issues”.
Deal’s key points
Abbasi will gain three major benefits if he merges his newly launched political party, Bahawalpur National Awami Party, with the PPP and backs out from the movement for the restoration of Bahawalpur province.
First and foremost, the Nawab will be made the first governor of the newly created South Punjab province. According to sources, this was a key factor in Abbasi agreeing to the creation of only one province.
Secondly, President Zardari will issue PPP tickets for all the National Assembly, provincial assembly and senate seats from the Bahawalpur region on the basis of Abbasi’s recommendations.
Thirdly, the Nawab would benefit from his title in the form of red passports for family members, protocols inside and outside the country, and an annual honorarium. The title of Nawab would also carry on to his son.
Earlier, during the 2008 general elections, Abbasi had supported two PML-N candidates, one PPP candidate, one independent and one Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) candidate for five seats in the Bahawalpur region.
PML-N’s earlier offer
In February this year, according to sources, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif offered Abbasi only two out of five NA seats in Bahawalpur, one Senate seat, and a free hand to raise his voice for a Bahawalpur province – which pales in comparison to the president’s offer.
Either way, the deal never came to fruition after some of Abbasi’s close aides, who have strong affiliations with the PPP, convinced the Nawab to deal with President Zardari instead. Abbasi also had second thoughts about dealing with the PML-N after the party backed out from awarding a Senate seat to Abbasi’s nominee in Senate elections this March.
PML-N’s Central Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan said he did not know anything about the meeting between the president and Abbasi. PML-N MNA from Bahawalpur Baleeghul Rehman, however, said that whether the nawab met with the president or with Sharif, one point on the agenda would definitely be the restoration of Bahawalpur province. Rehman added that PML-N’s stance on the issue was ‘crystal-clear’.
Nawab Abbasi’s spokesperson Rifatur Rehman Rehmani denied the deal while talking to The Express Tribune and maintained the official stance, that President Zardari and the nawab only discussed procedures for the restoration of Bahawalpur province. He said Abbasi had not compromised on a separate Bahawalpur province, nor had he discussed the South Punjab province issue. The spokesperson said that Bahawalpur state, comprising three districts (Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan) would be restored before the upcoming general elections.
President Zardari had earlier this year sent a reference to the National Assembly speaker to constitute a commission which would carve out two new provinces, South Punjab and Bahawalpur. So far, the speaker has not constituted the commission.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.
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Build more punjabs and shut the mouth of all other provinces. 4 punjabs vs sind, balochistan and KPK. How about that ;-)
@nawazish: 80 million seraikis??? so are you claiming that seraikis are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan? Then we should blame all evils of history upon the seraikis rather than punjabis ;-) as they were the ones who were in a majority and playing a big brother role.
@nawazish: First visit Bahawalpur and then comment. The people of bahawalpur are not property of Nawab and it is not Sindh that their fate will be decided by a Nawab. More than fifty percent of Bawalpurians are pure Punjbis and in Bawalpur division most of the Punjabi tribes are settled and they want either Bahawalpur state but they never want artificial Seraiki identity that wants to divide Punjabi tribes on the basis of mere language difference. So keep your analysis of Bahawalpur to yourself and also Nawab of Bawahalpur was just a head of the state of Bawalpur but he was not our owner to decide our fate.
@ Atif: The fact is that Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi and his family has always had diplomatic passports, this was one of the tenants of the treaties signed with the Quaid before partition when Nawab Sadiq Abbasi joined hands for the creation of Pakistan. The red (diplomatic) passports or the red number plates on his cars amount to nothing in comparison to the sacrifice the Abbasi family has made for Pakistan!! Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi is an upright individual who will NEVER sell out the interests for his beloved Bahawalpur for puny favours from the PPP, PLMN or any other political party. We Pakistanis should be indebted to the Abbasi family for their contribution to our country but alas all we have done is plundered their heritage and treated Bahawalpur with contempt!!!
Nawab has wisely decided to unite the people of south punjab.He will emerge as a hero of 80 million siraiki people in our God gifted state of Pakistan.let us salute nawab sahib because his this action will strengthen the federation of pakistan.
@Nadeem khan Bahawal pur: Mr Khan have kindly see my last comment above yours??? other than Baloch, Gailanis, Syeds, Durranis and Khans and some so called Arab invader tribes ( Pseudo Ones) no one else in South Punjab identify themselves with Seraiki Identity. My father's family live in Silanwali and in Bahawalpur regions and i think you should ask people like my Family who are Awans that who they are and they will tell you that they are Punjabis and Proud to be Punjabis. So People of Bahawalpur are more than 60 percent Punjabis and they want Referendum rather than be a Part of the identity from which they dont belong. to. It is not all about language accent but it is about History, Culture and way of life and Half of the South Punjab is very much Punjabi rather than Anyone else. The issue of Seraiki have some Racist factor as i once heard that Seraikis said that they are Arabs and Punjabis are Sikhs and Indians but interestingly Punjabis have no Problems with Sikhism as it is a part of Punjab and moreover interestingely claimants of Arab identity or Seraikis look more Indians than Punjabis of North Punjab.
We want saraikistan,we want identity as a saraiki nation with saraikistan province its demand of 7 karor saraiki,thank u nawab of bahawal pur for drops demands 4 bahawal pur province,because we want just saraikistan No Bahawal pur No multan
The seeds sown by Hatred cannot flourish at a later stage and could not be transformed into love. Dividing now on the basis of Ethnicity now will show us in future that Hatred has no bounds and Civil war situation could erupt. Apart from Baloch, Durranis and Khans no one can claim to have a different ethnicity than the other Punjabis since other tribes are age old tribes of Punjab starting from Attock to last boundary in South Punjab. The point is simple that how come a Jutt, Janjua, Rajput, Khar, Kharal, Arain, Malik, Khokhar, Butt, Abbasi, Mir, Khawaja, Qureshi, Sardar, Mughals and many sub castes of Jutt and Rajputs could be different in South Punjab than North Punjab. They are all same and so ethnically they could not be different apart from Baloch and Khans who dont want to be associated with Punjab at all others are actually son of this land and they exist here for centuries with no difference in Upper or Lower Punjab.
The story is blasphemous. There is nothing in the story but that Nawab met Zardari and discussed some important issues ....a fact already reported by an English daily a day earlier. The rest is speculation and clear violation of professional ethics.
A similar story was carried when Gilani visited Rahimyarkhan. Not only Nawab had denied it but threatened chaos and anarchy if anything lesser than the restoration of Bahawalpur province was thought about.
The fact of the matter is that Asif Ali Zardari, who had given a pledge to take over Takht-e-Lahore , had scheduled his visit of Bahawalpur but could not do so as the political parties of Bahawalpur threatened to launch violent protest if he came sans announcing the revival of Bahawalpur.
The deal is about Zardari visiting Bahawalpur and received well. Nawab has conditioned this with the forming of commission by NA speaker which he had already asked for. Latest reports are that notification has been issued. And Zardari would be visiting Bahawalpur after Eid.
Mr. Manan should also understand that Nawab can't take the decision of inching back from Bahawalpur cause on his own. It will be a political suicide for himself and his family, something he has promised for the politicians of Bahawalpur working against the cause of the revival of province.
Mr. Manan should also take note of the fact that in the last week of July, a delegation of PPP south Punjab chapter had met the president and thanked him for asking the NA speaker to form a commission.
Only after that the Nawab proceeded to president house. And only a day after meeting the NA speaker office has issued the notification for the formation of the said commission.
india had around 100 similar nawabs. who cares about nawabs now??? world is going forward and we are still in reverse gear
Finally Punjab is mutilated. First it was the partition in 1947 and now a partition within Pakistan.
divide Punjab and place quota in Pakistan Army's selection from all 5 provinces and tribal belt. That will break the power center at Takht-e-Lahore.
Some people may call it Zardari's triumph but its more of the greed of Sharif brothers that is allowing this to happen.
Zardari is willing to share: Nawaz Sharif is not. Offering the Nawab what was already his is demeaning to say the least. While PPP can be accused of being a party of many feudal families PMLN is just one family the Sharif's while the Khosas, Hashmis and others are humiliated until they resign.
Dear Mr President,Please speed up process to divide Punjab.Give them Bahawalpur state if they are so eager and it satisfies PMLN ego to hurt Saraikis.We are fed up with "Takht e Lahore' and can't live in virtual slavery with all bureaucracy whether civil or military,judges coming from Upper Punjab.They have plundered us a lot and now it's time to free people of Multan and D G Khan Division.We want our own public Service Commissionour own share in National finance pool and every thing associated.We want our own SP's,Commissioners,military officers and judges. Enough to "Takh e Lahore' hegemony to our areas.
I wish our friends from upper Punjab could understand our plight and agree to let us happily as they live in their own areas.
The diplomat's passport: allows you to get a visa on arrival in many countries along with priority queues and separate lounges in many airports world over.
Everything at PPP is for power, nothing for people of pak
What is a red passport?
Majority of the people are for sale in Pakistan. No matter if it cost the motherland.
Everyone has a price....
Looks like Nawab is only interested in Protocol and Red Passports, in fact a knighthood for himself & family and the People of Bahawalpur and their demands for a separate province are Nothing