Incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised to fulfill all demands of the people of Hazara region, including creation of a separate province for them and initiating mega development projects, if he comes to power.
In May 2013 while canvassing during his whirlwind tours, Sharif had told public meetings in Haripur, Abbottabad, Swabi and Peshawar that the crowd at his rally clearly indicated that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had already won the elections with majority and was set to resume the process of development in the country.
“We would give you Hazara province, Tarbela Dam’s royalty, build expressways and reconstruct Khanpur-Taxila Road,” he said.
To evaluate PML-N’s commitment to Hazara community of a separate province, Truth Tracker approached officials at the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination but they refused to talk on the subject because government officials are not authorized to speak to media.
The minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination has resigned from his post few months back after developing differences with the government.
However, a PML-N stalwart and Senator Mushahidullah Khan, suggested those who were lobbying for for a separate Hazara province should come forward instead of being tightlipped.
“Let them (who were pushing for creation of Hazara province) charge first then remind PML-N of its promise,” he remarked.
He said he was neither ever involved in the debate of Hazara province nor has any knowledge as to what has happened to that pledge.
Senator Farhatullah Babar of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said the PML-N has badly failed to honor most of its promises and commitments. “The promise of carving out Hazara province by Sharif was nothing but a political gimmick,” Babar added.
Nouman Wazir Khattak, a Senator from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), said provinces are being created on the basis of administrative needs. “If Hazara province can help improve situation as per administrative needs then it should be carved out on well-thought and well-informed basis,” he noted.
“But Sharif only had political mongering and ambitions behind the pledge to create Hazara province. The on ground situation totally negates that claim,” he added.
He said provinces should not be created on language or ethnic lines but only administrative criterion be adopted to decide on creation of new provinces.
“It is not only difficult but impossible for the PML-N to create Hazara province because their tenure is about to end,” Khattak remarked.
Sahibzada Chattan, a senior leader from PPP, said the PML-N doesn’t have only one per cent implementation on the promises he had held with the nation during his election campaign.
“There is no harm if Hazara province is created on administrative lines but not on nationalism basis because the latter is a threat to our unity,” Chattan noted.
He recalled Sharif has a long list of unfulfilled promises with the nation such as putting an end to power load shedding, accountability of corrupt people and freeing the nation of external debt burden.
“The begging bowl Sharif had pledged to break has seemingly enlarged during the PML-N government and corruption cases have increased manifold,” he added.
He said Sharif have made a false political promise by announcing to create Hazara province for the purpose to secure his vote bank.
Truth Tracker approached Zaigham Khan, an independent analyst who said of PML-N Hazara province promise: “No, they (the PML-N) have not taken any serious step.”
He said creation of new province is a constitutional process and one has to amend the constitution for carving out new province.
“We have to look at the 18th amendment, which was the biggest constitutional package of Pakistan,” he recalled.
He said that a glance on the election promises reminds the nation that PML-N had promised to create three provinces – Hazara, Bahawalpur and southern Punjab.
“Now the question is, did they do anything in this regard? Definitely, they did nothing practically,” he added. The unmet promise of creation of Hazara province was important for the PML to leverage the KP politically.
In addition, he said the PML-N is not interested to create southern Punjab province because of their vested interest. The government had spent 60% of the budget only on Lahore, the capital of Punjab.
He said the promise of a separate Hazara province had to be made by the PML-N just to garner votes. The ruling party cashed on the disappointment of Hazara community ober renaming of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Ali Mahar, another Islamabad based expert on political and Arab affairs, comments on the matter, “Forget about Hazara province. It was just a political gimmick to win the favour and support of people there.”
He said politicians often make short-sighted promises to win over people but have little intent to materialize their commitments. However this does have a far-reaching negative impact on their future political careers.
After evaluating views and remarks of the ruling/opposition lawmakers and independent analyst, Truth Tracker rules that the PML-N has broken its promise to create Hazara province and the promise was only aimed to secure vote bank. The ruling party has failed to proactively address the demands of Hazara community for a province.