Canvassing for 2013 elections, incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised to carve out more provinces such as Southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces if he were elected to power.
Back in December 2012, the premier had said that creation of these small units would help the country flourish.
“I am the greatest supporter of creating more provinces. Come with me to create Southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces. I will be the first man to sign it,” Sharif had said.
Truth Tracker approached Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to know about the status of PM’s promise regarding creation of southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces, Mushahid said he (the prime minister) had not made a formal promise. He added, “Nawaz had only said that if other provinces can be created on administrative basis then these provinces can be carved out.”
He recalled rather it (southern province) was the slogan of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), as they had repeatedly promised to deal with the issue but it was more of a political gimmick.
Mushahid said his party’s stance was that if there was need for creation of other provinces such as Hazara province on administrative basis then PML-N has no objection to form the southern province, however, there has been no formal promise by his party.
When asked would PML-N support the need of southern provinces on administrative basis, he said: “Look everything has its own priority. Some political parties are doing dirty politics and you need to respond to them and our political position was accepted by the people that’s why the masses voted for us and our candidates won with thumping majority from southern Punjab and Bahawalpur,” he recalled.
Mushahid said those who were making tall claims and the people like Muhammad Ali Durni, a minister during former president Gen. (Retd) Pervez Musharraf tenure, have disappeared from the scene like “seasonal quails.”
Without naming any political party, he said that they (politicians of opposite camp) are now trying to oust Nawaz Sharif from power with the help of Panama case but it would be impossible.
The people of Pakistan, he said have rejected PPP and voted for PML-N because the former was just making promises and failed to deliver.
Faisal Karim Khan Kundi, former speaker National Assembly and PPP leader, said that these all are fake promises by the prime minister to create southern Punjab or Bahawalpur provinces.
What about the PML-N’s promise of reduction in power load shedding within a year or six months, Kundi questioned? “Yes, maybe electricity load shedding is reduced in Punjab but in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa we have 16 to 18 hours load shedding daily,” he added.
The PML-N, he said has all fake promises because the ruling party has done nothing to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) or to bring some sort of judicial reforms. Faisal accused the PML-N for concentrating on materializing only those promises, which have had some business benefits for them. “The PML-N knows the day southern Punjab comes into being their political power will die its own death,” he added.
Shafqat Mehmood, a lawmaker from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), said on PML-N’s promise: “They have no program (to create the two provinces) otherwise they could have done it much earlier.”
Hassan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst, said of PML-N promise to create southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces that it seems next to impossible to honour the promise at this juncture of time.
“The party made the promise before the 2013 polls but the PML-N didn’t make a single mention of creation of the provinces since it is in power for the last three years almost,” he noted.
For creation of more provinces, he said a party needs homework and permission from the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly but they didn’t take a single step for the last three years.
When asked whether the promise could be materialized as the PML-N has almost two years at its disposal, Hassan said there is no hope although Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had clearly said to create southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces.
He recalled that PPP had a stance to create southern Punjab province and the PML-N in response had said it would create two provinces such as southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces in an apparent attempt to neutralize PPP.
“Neither me nor you saw or heard any statement by the prime minister or any other PML-N leader regarding creation of more provinces,” Hassan added.
Keeping in view the comments and views of ruling, opposition lawmakers and independent analysts, Truth Tracker rules the PML-N promise to create southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces stands broken.