South Punjab to have separate development programme in 2019
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that from 2019 a separate development programme will be created for south Punjab.
During a media talk in Multan, the minister said about the South Punjab development programme,
“Keeping in mind the region’s population, backwardness and requirements, it has been decided that from next a year a separate development programme be set up.”
Referring to the previous as well as the current year’s budget, Qureshi said that the most money had gone to other areas and there was an imbalance. “We want to fix this imbalance,” he added.
The possibility of South Punjab Province:
Qureshi noted that the PTI alone does not have a majority to make constitutional amendments and needed the support of the opposition.
“They (opposition) also say that there should be a province,” he said. “Then come and sit with us.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and the PML-N should support the creation of South Punjab province, instead of criticizing or objecting to the PTI’s efforts.
Cooperation of other parties:
The Minister said that PTI needs co-operation from the PPP and the PML-N for the creation of the province as the ruling party could not amend the Constitution on its own.
South Punjab province will be created through collective efforts of all political parties.
He pointed out that the PPP ruled the country for five years but failed to create South Punjab province. It is easy to criticize the government and raise objections, but accomplishing a task is really difficult, the minister remarked.
Creation of a new province in South Punjab – 100 days agenda of PTI:
Earlier in May 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had announced about the formation of a new province in South Punjab in their election manifesto.
PTI had started the procedure to create a new province within the first 100 days of its government.
The Minister said that the progress is being made in this regard. He acknowledged that their plans have encountered some legal hindrances.
The foreign minister said that turning south Punjab into a province is his party’s wish as well as a promise in their manifesto.
The decisions taken so far:
He also told that certain decisions have already been taken at the executive level to provide better facilities to the people of south Punjab
These steps included the creation of a secretariat in south Punjab so that the problems of employees and citizens could be solved closer to their homes.
Not an easy task to achieve:
While addressing a news conference in Peshawar on Saturday afternoon, President Arif Alvi said that a merger is not an easy task to achieve.
“The creation of a new province altogether, that is, South Punjab province, under the government’s current priorities, is even more difficult.”
The president said that this is so because there are challenges such as the division of assets and the determination of the ratio under which water resources will be allotted.
Secretariat in South Punjab to be established:
Earlier in October, the Executive Council on Creation of South Punjab province had agreed on establishing a secretariat under an additional chief secretary.
It will be established either in Multan or Bahawalpur, as creating a new province is not easy under the Constitution of Pakistan.
A similar plan for establishing a South Punjab mini-secretariat was chalked out by former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif when his government was accused of ignoring southern part of the province. But he did not implement the scheme.
“Shahbaz Sharif had just made the plan but PTI is going to implement it to facilitate people of South Punjab. They will be saved from the hassle of having to go to Lahore to have their minor issues redressed.”
For this purpose, the government will issue a notification on the post of an additional chief secretary, who will head the set-up.
The role of the additional chief secretary:
Under the additional chief secretary, special secretaries of key departments, having a direct link with people, will be appointed.
The new secretariat will help them get their problems resolved at their doorstep.
According to media reports, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar will undertake a day-long visit of this secretariat every month to hear the problems of the general public.
More visits to the Secretariat:
Chief Secretary Punjab will visit this secretariat two times in a month while provincial ministers will also visit this secretariat one day each month. They will listen to the problems of the general public.
Additional chief secretary South Punjab, Additional IG South Punjab, 9 Additional Secretaries, 14 Deputy Secretaries, and 28 section officers will be appointed in this secretariat.
The creation of a new province in South Punjab has been a demand of the locals for a long while. All parties including PPP and PMLN had been promising to create a new province in South Punjab.
The leadership of PPP and PMLN has announced it in their multiple speeches that they will work on making a separate province in Saraiki Belt.
Now, PTI has asked for their help on the creation of this new province. Let’s see how these parties react to the request made by PTI.
It will be beneficial for the people of that area. They won’t have to travel for a whole day and come to Lahore for their official problems.