February 10th, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
A Senate panel is to hold public hearings on the creation of new provincial units including proposed provinces of South Punjab and Bahawalpur.
The Senate standing committee on law and justice has decided to hold public hearings to discuss the creation of new provinces including provinces of South Punjab and Bahawalpur, according to a press statement issued after a meeting of the committee in Islamabad on February 9. Two constitutional amendment bills on the creation of new provinces have been referred to the standing committee on law and justice after being tabled in Senate last month.
The bill by Senator Talha Mehmood from Jamiat Ulema Islam- Fazl proposed the creation of three new provinces — Bahawalpur and South Punjab in the territory of Punjab and Hazara in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PML-N Senator Rana Mehmoodul Hasan’s private member bill proposes the creation of Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces. Senator Raza Rabbani, one of the committee’s members, told Voicepk.net.
“The committee chair ( Senator Ali Zafar) said he planned to hold public hearings on creation of new provinces when taken up by the committee,” Rabbani said, adding that members did not hold any discussion on the subject. According to Rabbani, the creation of new provinces was a serious matter and there was a need to build broad consensus on it. Asked about the creation of new provinces in Sindh, the former Senate chairman said his party, the Pakistan People’s Party, would oppose the creation of new provincial units there. PTI Senator Seemi Ezdi said the committee did not take up the bills on new provinces in the meeting as a few of the members were in attendance.
According to the press statement, the standing committee also decided to take up the issue of appointment of judges and regulation of suo motu powers separately. Senator Ali Zafar regretted the absence of the federal law minister, whom he noted should have been present to state the policy of the government on the important constitutional amendments relating to the issuance of ordinances and other constitutional matters. “The committee’s chairman directed to ensure the presence of the minister in the next proceedings, failure of which shall result in the final decision on the bills with the representation of the committee members by majority voting,” read the press statement.