ISLAMABAD: As the first session of the commission for forming two new provinces in Punjab came to an end, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Farhatullah Babar was appointed its chairman, with Babar, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Farooq Sattar and MNA Jamshed Dasti, all requesting Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) members to participate in the commission.
Babar, while outlining details of the first ever session of the commission, told the media that the resolutions passed in the National Assembly on May 21 and in the Punjab Assembly on May 9 were discussed in the session.
“Two decisions were taken in today’s session,” said Babar.
“Today it was decided that the commission will request members of Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) to, as per their nomination, participate in the commission so that the resolutions passed in the assemblies can be taken forward,” he said while elaborating on the first decision.
The second decision, according to him, was that the commission would meet again tomorrow “for framing draft rules and adopting them to increase our efficiency, as is the need for all commissions and committees.”
“Further developments will take place in the light of those rules,” said Babar.
Answering a question relating to creating provinces within other provinces, Babar said, “There have been no requests by other provinces. How can this commission go to other provinces and say it will form more provinces when they have not set forth any such proposals?”
“This proposal has come from Punjab itself; therefore, the work of the commission is limited to this province alone,” he added.
When asked why only representatives from Punjab could not form this commission alone, Babar said, “When you talk about creating a new province, it requires amending the constitution and amendment of the constitution cannot be handed over to any one province or political party.”
“Amendments take place with agreement from all parties and provinces and this will hopefully happen with consensus,” said Babar.
Farooq Sattar said that the beginning of these sessions created a “historic opportunity” that should not be squandered. “We have been given one month since the formation of the commission,” he said.
“We should remove all hurdles in the creation of the south Punjab province and create it as soon as possible.”
He congratulated Farhatullah Babar for being elected chairman and assured the people of south Punjab that “we will not hold back and will use all our resources, energy and time, with consensus (form the province).”
Sattar too, appealed to PML-N to participate in this commission.
“All political parties and assemblies are representatives in this commission,” said Sattar. “PML-N representatives should also come from the Senate or National Assembly and whatever needs to be discussed can be talked over in the commission (meeting), be it for the south Punjab province, or the other resolution for the Bahawalpur province,” he said.
Member National Assembly (MNA) Jamshed Dasti added to Farooq Sattar’s statements saying that the provincial issue was a national one.
“All parties have assembled for PML-N’s own resolution that they passed in the Punjab Assembly, they requested the federal government to constitute a national commission,” said Dasti.
“South Punjab and Siraiki people’s 64 years of depravation of rights are being assessed and all parties except PML-N are present here,” he said adding, “We hope that PML-N will take part in this commission for the betterment of the nation and its people.”
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