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Shah Mahmood Qureshi seeks opposition’s support for South Punjab province

19 Jan, 2022
The foreign minister statement comes as a private member bill that was introduced in the Senate by PML-N Rana Mehmoodul Hasan on Monday. It was supported by the PTI and the PPP but was opposed by another PML-N lawmaker. Photo: twitter.com/@SMQureshiPTI
The foreign minister statement comes as a private member bill that was introduced in the Senate by PML-N Rana Mehmoodul Hasan on Monday. It was supported by the PTI and the PPP but was opposed by another PML-N lawmaker. Photo: twitter.com/@SMQureshiPTI

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, urged the opposition leaders to join the government in the Constitutional amendment, aimed at the creation of South Punjab province.

The foreign minister's statement coincides with the introduction of a private member bill in the Senate by PML-N Rana Mehmoodul Hasan on Monday. It was supported by the PTI and the PPP but was opposed by another PML-N lawmaker.

The creation of South Punjab province is one of the promises the PTI made before the elections that led to many lawmakers joining the PM Imran-led party.

Such a move requires necessary legislation and consensus from both sides of the aisle in parliament, with the preceeding PML-N government losing a lot of good faith after failing to fulfil their promise.

It had led to estranged PML-N lawmakers, who had formed the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM), joining the PTI on May 9, 2018. In a press conference, JPSM President Khusro Bakhtiar, the current industries and production minister, had said that the merger was made possible after the PTI included the formation of a new province in south Punjab in their election manifesto.

“PTI’s manifesto promises the creation of a separate province for the people of South Punjab. Irrespective of political affiliation, the national interest requires unity on a Constitutional amendment. As VC of PTI, I invite opposition leaders to join us in making this a reality,” FM Qureshi said in the tweet.

The matter of new province had also come into discussion when Bakhtiar called on Qureshi at the Parliament House on Tuesday. Qureshi had said the approval of a separate development budget for South Punjab and devolution of powers was “key to empowering” the area.

“Through reform, our focus is socio-economic uplift. The South Punjab Civil Secretariat under an Additional Chief Secretary is manifest of this as is setting up district development coordination committees to improve service delivery for ease & convenience of ppl of South Punjab,” it read.