MULTAN, Mar 14 (DNA): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi
said on Saturday elected representatives of local region would decide
about place for capital of South Punjab province.
While holding a press conference at Circuit House, Foreign Minister
Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that there was a confusion that
south Punjab’s secretariat was being made in Bahawalpur.
He added that it was not true. Elected representatives from South Punjab
would decide the place for capital of the new province of south Punjab,
Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that there were elements who bent on
creating confusion among people of the local region.
Earlier, a strong reaction from local citizens surfaced at social media
that secretariat would be established in Bahawalpur.
Creation of south Punjab province is part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s
(PTI) manifesto. People of local region gave mandate to PTI in election,
PTI is making sincere efforts for south Punjab province, he maintained,
adding that PTI would move bill in assembly soon and the government
would also try its best to seek support for the new province from
Pakistan People Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML N).
He however, urged upon local elected representatives of PPP and PML N to
extend support towards south Punjab province.
Qureshi urged MPAs and MNAs from PML N and PPP to think about politics.
PTI is not interested in taking any kind of credit on south Punjab
province, however, it is ready to gave credit to other political
parties, if they extended support in this regard.
Qureshi lamented that there were few elements who were not interested in
south Punjab province and creating confusions among masses. “As PTI
lacked required majority for amendment in constitution for creation of
new province, so it decided to set up secretariat to facilitate people.
No amendment is required for establishment of civil secretariat in the
region”, he maintained.
During consultation meetings for south Punjab province, some people
wished that Multan should be capital of the new province. They extended
their logical arguments in favour of Multan. Similarly, some others
wished Bahawalpur as capital of south Punjab.
In meetings, they discussed various administrative and financial
requirements for new province. It was decided that two officers,
additional chief secretary and additional IG, would be deputed, he
PTI strongly believed in devolution of power at gross root level,
Qureshi said. “PTI wanted to move forward for civil secretariat during
April”, said Qureshi adding, “However, it would be completely functional
by July 1”.
“In case, there was no consensus about place of the secretariat, then
south Punjab assembly would decide about it. In democracy, the
majority’s opinion is always honoured”, said FM.
About decision of secretariat at this time, Qureshi remarked that the
decision showed political determination and sincerity of Pakistan
PTI wished that problems of people should be resolved at their door’s
step. Establishment of secretariat was a clear step towards south Punjab
province and no other political party could reverse it in future.
Qureshi remarked that Multan and Bahawalpur were easily accessible for
the people of the region. They could get their problems resolved within
a day at local secretariat, he said.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Mian Shahbaz Sharif to extend cooperation
for south Punjab province.
He stated that leadership of opponent political parties should cooperate
and also take credit.
Qureshi also maintained that PTI government was also introducing “ring
fence concept” for utilization of earmarked funds locally.
In past, funds were allocated for south Punjab region but they were
spent on other places. However, in ring fence concept, funds would be
used locally, he stated. He also urged masses, intellectuals,
journalists, local representatives and others to avoid any confusion and
move forward for creation of the province.
The development of Multan is linked to development of Bahawalpur and
vice versa. Similarly, development of Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan
was also linked to Multan and vice versa. So people should not fall prey
to any misunderstanding or confusion and extend maximum support towards
Qureshi stated that he himself was nothing without people and sought
support from natives, elected representatives, intellectuals and other
influential of the region.
PTI was heading towards south Punjab province without any geographical
or linguistic prejudice, he said adding, PTI has thinking of federation
Responding to a question, Qureshi stated that if PTI had not taken any
step towards establishing the secretariat, opponent would criticise it
and term it political point scoring only. PTI is sincere in creation of
the south Punjab, he remarked.
PTI government deliberated all aspects including support from other
federating units including, Sindh, Balochistan and KPK.
Chief Whip national assembly Malik Aamir Dogar informed that he remained
part of all meetings regarding south Punjab province. He lauded Shah
Mehmood Qureshi for his sincere efforts for the new province.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi also hailed Prime
Minister Imran Khan for taking steps heading forward towards
establishing south Punjab secretariat. DNA