Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has sought the support of all political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N, for legislation pertaining to the creation of South Punjab province.
After a press conference in Multan on Saturday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf vice chairman made public the letters he wrote to PPP Chairperson Bilawal BhuttoZardari and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.
In these letters, Qureshi asked Shehbaz and Bilawal to extend their support for the creation of a separate province as a two-third parliamentary majority was conditional to getting the required legislation passed.
The separate province will comprise Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur divisions, as per the foreign minister. According to Qureshi, on January 17, a private-member bill was tabled by a senator of the PML-N that was endorsed by both the PPP and PTI.
The minister said the creation of a separate province in southern Punjab was promised in PTI’s manifesto, adding that it was also the wish of 35 million people of the region. According to Qureshi, the only hurdle to this is the absence of the two-third majority in parliament for which the PTI needed the support of the opposition parties. “Let us play a historic role in making this wish of the 35 million people a reality,” Qureshi added.
The FM said despite lacking a two-third majority in parliament, the PTI government still took measures to provide autonomy to southern Punjab.
These measures include the establishment of two separate secretariats in Multan and Bahawalpur, and provision of administrative powers to several government departments seeking to improve their capacity at different levels, he added.