Pakistan PM invites parties to talks on new provinces in Punjab, Sindh

Pakistan PM invites parties to talks on new provinces in Punjab, Sindh

Amid growing demand for bifurcating Punjab and Sindh provinces, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has invited all political parties to a dialogue to reach a consensus on the issue of creation of new provinces, according to media reports on Sunday.

The prime minister criticised the setting up of the South Punjab Province Front and the leaders who announced its formation recently. He said that mere holding of press conferences could not create new provinces in Pakistan.

Abbasi said all political parties should hold a dialogue on the issue of creation of new provinces in accordance with the demands of the people of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

He was speaking at a road opening event in Khairpur Daha near Uch Sharif, about 70km from here Bahawalpur city in Punjab province.

Pakistan has four provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province by area, after Balochistan.  

Abbasi said that no political party could ensure the setting up of a new province all by itself because no party could amend the Constitution alone.

All the parties should strive to forge a consensus through dialogue, he said. The formation of new provinces might be in the best interest of the country.

Abbasi, referred to the demand for the creation of Hazara province as well as for other federating units in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He mentioned the adoption of two resolutions in the Punjab assembly in the last two years, about the restoration of Bahawalpur province and creation of South Punjab province.

It was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said, that had ensured the passage of the two resolutions. The constitutional amendment, however, could not be passed through the efforts of just one party, he said.

Abbasi asked the leaders of the South Punjab Province Front to wait for the people's verdict on the issue, as the general election was approaching fast. As they had parted ways with the PML-N, they should wait for a proper mandate from the people.

Recently, eight lawmakers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party parted ways with it and announced the launch of a mass movement to make South Punjab a separate province.

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