Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: Senator Farhatullah Babar today said that a Constitution amendment Bill to create South Punjab province has already been passed by the Senate in August 2013 and the new government could adopt the same as its own Bill or make further amendments if it was sincere in implementing its promise of carving out the province.
Addressing a seminar in the national Press Club on Seraiki province in Islamabad today he said that the multi party Parliamentary Commission set up in 2012 of which he was the Chairman had already prepared a comprehensive report on the basis of thousands of communications on the subject and public hearings held on the issue.
He said that every political party wanted to get credit for any positive initiative and there was nothing wrong with it. So if the new government wanted to take credit for the new province it could adopt the report and the Bill already passed with some modifications to give it the colour of its own initiative. I am confident no member of the erstwhile Parliamentary Committee will have any objection if the PTI government wished to do so.
This model of getting important legislation passed has already been successfully tried in the case of Right to Information(RTI) Bill some 18 months ago, he said.
The promised new province is part of the PTI’s hundred days agenda. The Party can run away from it only at a huge political cost and loss of credibility he said and urged the Seraiki people to hold the new government accountable for this.
He said the PTI won 30 out of 50 parliamentary seats from the Seraiki belt and also promised Seraiki province, the PPP has already committed itself to it and the PML-N was also part of the Resolutions passed in the Punjab Assembly in May 2012 calling for south Punjab province. All the elements of political support are there he said and wondered what prevented the PTI from going ahead with it.
He said that in 2012 the three southern divisions of Multan, Bahawalpur and D.G Khan accounted for 84 % of cotton, 41% of wheat, 36% of sugar production in Punjab. Similarly over 85% of cotton ginning factories, nearly 40 % of flour mills, 30% of sugar mills and 25% of fertilizer making units of Punjab were located in the southern divisions.
About its deprivations he said that the quota of Punjab in federal bureaucracy is nearly 50%. and as such the 3 divisions should get 30% of it. However, it had been denied as the Punjab refused to adopt the zoning formula in Article 27 of the Constitution which had been adopted by all other provinces.