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PTI to table bill to create a South Punjab province

Foreign minister says building consensus will take time

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 11, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 11, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Photo: National Assembly

The PTI will be introducing a bill in the National Assembly to create a South Punjab province.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to the PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan announced the decision during a press conference on Wednesday after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Qureshi said all key stakeholders, including the Punjab chief minister, chief secretary and inspector general of police, attended the meeting. Senior party representatives from South Punjab were also present.

“This is a concrete step to fulfill the promise we made to the people of South Punjab,” Qureshi said. Calling the decision ‘historic’, he said it would lead to the realisation of a longstanding demand of the people of the region. 

He added that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has agreed to allocate 35% of the province’s funds for South Punjab. “These funds will have a ring fence protection and will not be allowed to be reappropriated,” Qureshi explained.

However, passing the bill will require a 2/3 majority in the assembly, which the PTI doesn’t have. “Building this consensus will take time,” he added.

The foreign minister said that as an immediate step, a secretariat will be set up in the region. Setting up the secretariat will cost Rs3.5 billion and 1,350 new posts will have to be created to get it running. An additional chief secretary and additional inspector general of police will also be appointed for South Punjab.

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