Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan of the Lahore High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of petitions against the constitution of a parliamentary commission that has recommended Bahawalpur South Punjab province till February 18.
Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hayee Gilani said that he had not been provided a copy of the civil miscellaneous applications filed by the petitioners.
Earlier, the petitioners’ counsel, Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, submitted that the commission was constituted illegally following an “illegal letter” from the president to the deputy speaker of the National Assembly. As he started reading the letter, the judge pointed out that while the letter was addressed to the deputy speaker half way through it seemed to be addressing “madam speaker”.
The DAG exchanged some harsh words with the counsel for the petitioners over who could speak when. The judge asked all the counsel to sit down except Siddique.
A group of lawyers has challenged the formation of the parliamentary commission and its recommendations for inclusion of Mianwali in the proposed Bahawalpur South Punjab province.
The petitioners say that neither the Constitution nor the rules of business allows the National Assembly speaker to form a commission on new provinces.
They also say including Mianwali district in the proposed province was clearly not what people of the district wanted.
They mention that the Punjab Assembly has passed two resolutions on the subject and demanded the restoration of the Bahawalpur province. They say Article 239 of the Constitution allows the parliament only to change the boundaries of the provinces.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2013.
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