Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday submitted a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly for the creation of “Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces.”
The bill was submitted to the NA secretary by MNAs Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanvir and Rana Sanaullah. The bill demands that Article 1 of the Constitution be amended to create the Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces.
The Bahawalpur province will consist of the current administrative division that is considered Bahawalpur, while the current divisions of Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan will fall into the South Punjab province.
The bill also calls for changes to Article 51, which will see to the changes in allocation of seats in the National Assembly, making way for representation of the two new provinces in parliament.
According to the bill, once the amendment is done, Bahawalpur will have 15 general and three women’s’ seats, bringing the total count of seats to 18. The bill also calls for the allocation of 38 seats to the South Punjab province.
After the amendment, the total number of seats on the NA would rise to 326, out of which 266 will be general seats while 60 will be women-specific seats.
Addressing a press conference alongside former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PML-N spokesperson Marriyam Aurangzeb, Ahsan Iqbal said the PML-N had achieved another milestone by submitting a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly to create two new provinces of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces.
On behalf of his party, he extended full support to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in creating South Punjab province. “If the government is serious on the matter of creating the province, then the opposition will unconditionally second it,” he added.
The former interior minister also said his party had promised people for the new province as per their aspirations. “If the incumbent government is sincere in its claim then it should move the bill forward for formation of the aforesaid provinces.”
They said PML-N will support government if it establishes a province of South Punjab.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said he and his cabinet of the previous tenure are ready for accountability. Ahsan Iqbal said opposition does not want to topple the government and it will support government’s public welfare projects such as provision of jobs and homes to the poor.
On Jan 16, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had said steps were being taken to implement the plan to give South Punjab the status of the province. “The people of South Punjab would be soon given good tidings.”
He had expressed these views while talking to members of the National Assembly belonging to Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions who met him in Islamabad.