Divisive politics

IN true democracies, elections are held on the basis of issues, manifestoes and programmes for welfare of the masses but here in Pakistan, strangely enough, our political parties and politicians tend to exploit the occasion to advance their own personal or group interests at the cost of national interests. This was observed on a number of times in the past and some of our politicians are resorting to same tactics with a view to brightening their prospects in the coming general election.
The proposition of PTI Vice Chairman Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi that the Punjab province should be divided into two provinces falls into the same category. Addressing a Saraikistan Solidarity Conference, he advanced illogical argument that bifurcation of the largest province of the country would help strengthen the Federation. In the first place, there is hardly any worthwhile demand for splitting Punjab and those who tried to use the card for their political objectives in 2013 elections were rejected by people of entire Punjab especially those from South Punjab. The PPP was routed from the province despite propaganda campaign launched by the party and moves initiated to divide Punjab. This was because the party advocated division of Punjab and opposed tooth and nail creation of new provinces in Sindh and KP. Now Shah Mahmood Qureshi is trying to play the same card and it is apprehended that he would hurt political fortunes of his party in Punjab. One fails to understand how the federation would be strengthened by dividing its biggest province, which has been making sacrifices for the sake of smaller federating units be it during finalisation of NFC award or water distribution.
Similarly, there is no substance in the claims made by Qureshi that Punjab government spent money on the provincial capital and ignored South Punjab. In fact, PML (N) government made historic allocations for the region and completed many developmental projects in the realm of education, health and infrastructure. It would be worthwhile to remind Qureshi that the PPP government, of which he was part and parcel, could not launch any significant scheme in the region and the credit goes to Shahbaz Sharif government for completing Metro Bus project for Multan, which is being politicised by some political parties. We believe that negative mentality of churning out propaganda against Punjab should come to an end. If provinces are to be carved out, these should be on economic and administrative reasons and going by those criteria the PTI should not oppose creation of a separate province of FATA.

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