A delicate subject: Parliamentary committee formed to further Hazara province’s cause

Religious affairs minister asks region’s lawmakers and activists to unite.

Muhammad Sadaqat April 06, 2014
A leader of Tehreek-e-Suba Hazara Party speaks during a demonstration at Fawara Chowk in Abbottabad. PHOTO: ONLINE


In order to fulfil constitutional requirements for the formation of a Hazara province, a parliamentary committee comprising lawmakers from the division was formed here on Saturday.

Talking to journalists after meeting lawmakers and members of Suba Hazara Tehreek’s executive council at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) House in Abbottabad, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusuf said he has been advocating the cause of a Hazara province for years and has discussed the matter with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) minister, who is a native of Mansehra district, said since new provinces could not be created with agitation and road blocks, his party and the Suba Hazara Tehreek, which he himself heads, chose to accomplish the goal through Parliament. Yusuf praised efforts of MPAs and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) provincial minister from Hazara who succeeded in passing the pro-Hazara province resolution in the K-P Assembly recently and urged lawmakers from the region and rights activists to shun their differences and unite on a single platform.

He said the formation of a separate province was not something that one or two parties would take credit for but a popular demand of 10 million Hazaras. Despite being abundant in natural resources, the Hazara region has remained neglected by the governing authorities in Peshawar and Islamabad, he added.

On March 21, the treasury benches in the provincial assembly passed a resolution with a majority vote, demanding the centre to take up the case of creating a Hazara province. During the same session, another resolution regarding renaming of K-P as “Hazara Paktunkhwa” was also adopted with a majority vote.

Brushing aside the notion that people of Hazara are demanding a separate province on linguistic grounds, he said the demand is purely for administrative reasons which would put an end to regional biases and bring about real development in the area. The minister told journalists that parliamentarians from Hazara have agreed to form a committee that would soon meet the prime minister and parliamentary leaders of various political parties and persuade them to support the cause of a Hazara province. He said committee members would also distribute literature regarding the Hazara region among parliamentarians as most have very little knowledge about the area’s issues.

PTI’s MNA from Abbottabad Dr Azhar Jadoon, PML-N’s Sarzameen Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Qari Mohammad Yusuf, JUI-F Senator from Hazara Talha Mehmood, provincial ministers Mushtaq Ghani, Qalandar Lodhi, MPAs Sardar Muhammad Idrees, Sardar Zahoor Elahi, Haji Ibrar Tanoli, Wajihuz Zaman Khan, Abdul Sattar Khan, Amina Sardar, Nargis Bibi, Pir Sabir Shah, Ruqiya Hina and Saleh Muhammad attended the closed door meeting.

Moreover, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Muhammad Yaqub, local Hazara leader Naseer Khan Jadoon and other prominent figures were also among those who attended the moot.

Yusuf said lawmakers from Hazara and members of the Suba Hazara Tehreek would observe the anniversary of those who laid down their lives for a separate province on April 12, 2010 by holding a public gathering in Abbottabad.

Seven people were killed and almost 200 injured on the fateful day when protesters demonstrating against the renaming of the North-West Frontier Province as K-P clashed with the police. Protesters, most of them belonging to the Suba Hazara Tehreek, claimed they had been betrayed by the then government as their region was not represented in the new name. The demonstration is considered as the biggest protest in terms of the number of people in the history of the region and is a sensitive issue with regards to the creation of a Hazara province.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2014.


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