Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan has sent a letter to National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, demanding a halt to the proceedings of the commission on two new provinces, sources told The Express Tribune. The proposed new provinces are South Punjab and Bahawalpur.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s President Nawaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and their legal wizards drafted the letter late Sunday night, and forwarded it Monday morning to Rana Iqbal Khan. The letter is now to be forwarded to Fehmida in response to her letter which she wrote three weeks ago.
The commission – comprising six senators and as many MNAs – is scheduled to have its maiden meeting today (Tuesday) to discuss the formation of two new provinces. The PML-N’s three members on the committee – MNAs Saud Majeed and Tehmina Daultana and Senator Rafique Rajwana – have been told by their party to stay away from the commission’s meeting.
According to sources who shared details of the draft of the letter, three points have been raised. Firstly, the Punjab Assembly speaker requested that the proceedings of the commission be stopped immediately.
Secondly, the speaker complained to Fehmida of not providing him the official copy of her directions to form a commission on President Asif Ali Zardari’s reference.
Thirdly, Rana Iqbal pointed out that the Punjab Assembly’s resolution on two new provinces called for a discussion on the formation of other provinces in the country as well, besides those proposed in Punjab. He called for a truly ‘national’ commission which includes all stakeholders in the country.
Sources added that Nawaz vetted the letter and asked the speaker to forward it to Fehmida.
Those familiar with the development also said that Nawaz directed Nisar to conduct a press conference in Islamabad over the proceedings of the commission to dispel the impression that the PML-N was “not concerned with the formation of a South Punjab province”. They said Nisar is likely to address the press conference today.
Sources added that the letter is actually part of the PML-N’s strategy to take the matter to the court. If the commission does not stop proceedings after receiving the letter, the provincial assembly speaker will then move the court.
Earlier, while talking to The Express Tribune, Rana confirmed that he would move the court against the commission.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ