ISLAMABAD: Over three months after the passage of a resolution to create new provinces in Punjab, the National Assembly finally constituted a bi-cameral and bi-partisan commission on Thursday to pave way for creation of federating units in the most populated province of the country.
However, the commission is still incomplete as nominations from the Punjab Assembly are yet to be received. It will be complete after the provincial assembly’s speaker sends names of members of the assembly to be part of the commission to redraw the boundaries of Punjab. Last month, President Asif Ali Zardari wrote a letter to National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, asking her to form a 14-member commission to submit recommendations for creation of a new province in southern Punjab and revival of provincial status for Bahawalpur.
Besides the National Assembly, the Punjab Assembly has also passed a resolution demanding parliament and the federal government to create a new province in southern Punjab and also to revive the provincial status of Bahawalpur.According to a National Assembly notification, the speaker had constituted a 14-member commission for creation of new provinces in Punjab. It said the speaker had constituted the commission in pursuance of a message received from the president and authorisation by the National Assembly on July 11.
The commission comprises Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senators Farhatullah Babar and Sughra Imam, Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a key ally of the government, has no representation from the Senate in this commission.
However, the party’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Dr Farooq Sattar, is member of the commission. MNAs Arif Aziz Sheikh, Jamshaid Ahmad Dasti, Ali Musa Gilani, Tahmina Daultana and Chaudhry Saud Majeed are also members of the commission. No member of ANP, PML-Q and JUI-F from the National Assembly has been included in the commission.
The commission has been mandated to look into the issues relating to fair distribution of economic and financial resources, demarcation, allocation and readjustment of seats in the National Assembly, Senate and the provincial assembly concerned and allocation of seats in the new province on the basis of population, including seats of minorities and women and other constitutional, legal and administrative matters.
The commission is required to submit its report to the speaker as well as to the prime minister within 30 days of its notification in the official gazette, which will be followed by initiation of a process of amendment of the constitution.-Dailytimes