LAHORE: Following the federal government’s announcement of a commission for creating two new provinces in Punjab last week, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan vowed to challenge the move in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Talking to reporters at his chamber in the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Friday, Khan said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) legal wing was preparing a petition against the commission’s formation which will soon be filed in the LHC.
“This is the first step… I seek to have the commission declared illegal and stopped from working unless the central government meets certain requirements,” he maintained.
Khan told reporters he would be the main petitioner in his capacity as the PA speaker, adding that in case the LHC did not address his petition, he would move the Supreme Court.
Khan lashed out at the composition of the commission, which comprises six senators and National Assembly members (MNAs) each as opposed to only two provincial assembly members (MPAs). Terming this makeup an insult to Punjab, he demanded that the commission include 24 MPAs from the province, twice the number of senators and MNAs. Besides this condition, Khan also demanded that PML-N’s resolution regarding the four provinces be incorporated into the commission.
The PA speaker maintained that he will not nominate the two MPAs for the completion of the commission. He added that senators and MNAs belonging to his party will not participate in the commission’s first meeting on August 28 either.
In case the commission completed its assignments in a month without consulting PML-N’s members and succeeded in getting its draft passed by both houses of parliament, Khan said his party would not allow it to be passed by the Punjab Assembly.
Khan claimed it was unfortunate that Punjab was being divided into three parts. He said if the Pakistan Peoples Party was sincere in addressing people’s grievances, it should also ponder over the plight of the people of Hazara and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Meanwhile, Senator Rafique Rajwana, one of PML-N’s three members in the commission, told The Express Tribune that it was useless to appear in the first meeting. Terming the commission illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic, he said the party will raise its voice against it in parliament. Rajwana added that PML-N could also include a request for two more provinces in its plea to the court as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2012.
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