The issue of new provinces has brought Punjab and the centre at loggerheads.
Fists were clenched, punches thrown and abuses hurled in the hallowed hall of the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday as lawmakers, with a majority vote, passed a resolution rejecting the formation and proceedings of the national commission on the formation of two new provinces in Punjab.
The resolution demanded the federal government immediately withdraw the notification of the commission constituted to deliberate the formation of a South Punjab and Bahawalpur province.
The session started an hour and 19 minutes later than its scheduled time of 10 am, with the speaker allowing opposition members to deliver their speeches on the issue of South Punjab.
After a few speeches though, the speaker attempted to shift to government business but was besieged by opposition members who created a ruckus and approached the dais.
Despite the uproar, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah succeeded in getting the Information Technology University of the Punjab Bill 2012 passed by the house. The bill, passed earlier, had been rejected by Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa who raised objections over it.
The speaker then suspended the rules of procedure and allowed Sanaullah to present a resolution against the national commission on new provinces. The resolution was passed by the house with a majority vote.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Service Tribunals Bill 2012 and the Punjab Local Government Bill 2012 were also introduced in the house.
The resolution rejected the establishment of the commission, constituted by the National Assembly speaker on August 16 for the formation of two new provinces in Punjab – South Punjab and Bahawalpur – on grounds that it is “contrary to the spirit of the resolutions passed by the Punjab Assembly on May 9, 2012” on the same issue.
The resolution demanded an “immediate withdrawal of this nominated commission … and its denotification.”
It also demanded the federal government “form a national commission in which all stakeholders should be given representation.”
Talking to the media outside the assembly, Sanaullah said after the passage of the resolution the commission has lost its authenticity and legality. He asked the federal government to stop the commission from working immediately. PPP Deputy Opposition Leader in PA Shaukat Mehmood Basra and MPA Ehsanul Haq Naulatia said the opposition pointed out the quorum to the speaker, so the passage of the resolution and the bill is illegal.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.
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