The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has decided in principle to endorse the idea of carving new provinces out of Punjab on administrative grounds rather than on ethnic and linguistic basis, party sources confided with TheNation on Friday.
However, the final decision regarding the issue will be taken at the highest party meeting to be held in Islamabad on the coming Monday, which will be chaired by PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif. Prior to this, senior leader of the party Sartaj Aziz will be also chairing a meeting on the subject. So far, at its various party meetings, recommendations as a package had been finalised, which would be discussed in the Monday meeting. Party sources have also confided that PML-N special committee had so far met thrice during the last week to finalise the proposals. “The premise is that provinces should be created on administrative grounds, and a package should be announced for creating new provinces,” mentioned the source.
Moreover, the party leadership also believe that more provinces should be created for benefitting the masses instead of political sloganeering.
So far the party position is that it is against the creation of new provinces on ethnic and linguistic basis, and concedes that it could be done on administrative grounds. In a statement Deputy Secretary General PML-N Ahsan Iqbal has asserted that these provinces should be created on the basis of ideology. Political analysts believe that he is probably unaware that there is only one ideology according to which Pakistan was created. “How can there be many ideologies in one country?” remarked a party parliamentarian, while seeking anonymity.
On the other hand, political pundits believe that the PPP was not serious for creating new provinces, but was doing so for multiple reasons. First, it is playing to the public gallery for gathering support of those who have been raising the issue since long. Secondly, it is making an effort to having a bigger following among the masses of those particular areas. Thirdly, it is a political game which aims at clipping PML-N wings and eroding its strength, especially since its own party leaders, like Senior Vice-President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, have speaking full throttle for the creation of more provinces, especially Saraiki, an area which falls within his proximity of influence.
Analysts assert that the PPP has gone ahead with the proposal of new provinces sans realising that it would lead to huge constitutional crisis and would make the economics of the country more vulnerable. “How would other provinces allow Punjab to have 40 seats in the Senate when the province is divided into two?” he questioned while mentioning that the other provinces had been repeatedly alleging Punjab for dominating the highest legislative house.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has demanded formation of a commission, on the pattern of the 18th amendment, to discuss the creation of new provinces.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with party representatives of Sindh. On the occasion, he bitterly criticised the PPP government, and alleged it for bringing destruction to Karachi. “The federal and Sindh governments are responsible for the Karachi chaos, and do not seem to be sincere in mending the mess,” he observed, while reiterating his stance for the implementation of court decisions at every cost.