Of the Division of Punjab

ACCORDING to a Punjabi proverb the knots one binds with the hands are ultimately unravelled by the mouth. … So far as the division of Punjab is concerned, Mr Gilani is either very innocent or optimistic…. He may be personally in favour of this division but it would be wrong to take it as an issue supported by all parties. It does not behove a responsible person to claim that the proposed division is being supported by all parties. Among our political parties, apart from the PPP and the N-League, none exists at a national level. Even the PPP has, after using the Sindh card, to some extent earned the label of a regional party which is unfortunate.

The other aspect of the division is that the so-called Seraiki leaders from south Punjab have always used this stunt for blackmailing and bargaining. …When they are in a ruling position they forget the miserable plight of their people and areas. But as soon as their grip on power weakens they start talking about the deprivations of the people of the south. This insincere approach never lets them do anything worth the name for their voters.

Gilani has … expressed satisfaction on the question of a Seraiki province … and [has said] that the PPP would include this demand in its manifesto. The prime minister must be aware of the basis of the PPP manifesto in which three issues are on top — food, clothing and shelter — which the party has so far in 44 years failed to provide. …Will the division of Punjab provide the PPP an opportunity to fulfil its promises? …[It] would be better … for the prime minister to coax his party to fulfil the promises it has made since it came into existence (1967). …Mr Gilani should first get the programme implemented and then raise non-issues like the division of Punjab…. — (Aug 25).Selected and translated by S.T.M.


New province, old motives?

With the calls for a new province constantly being echoed, various questions are being raised regarding the motives, prudence and consensus behind this. Where most people seem to agree with the fact that smaller provinces may help bolster efficient administration, confusion starts at how these would be carved out.

For instance, in the case of the Seraiki province, will the geographical boundaries incorporate three divisions of southern Punjab or will the Seraiki-speaking parts of other provinces be included? Forming a consensus and strategies on this issue is far more important than rushing the process before the next polls.

Are the calls for the new province(s) simply led by political convenience and point scoring or could the government actually be sincere in encouraging the devolution of power and improving governance through this process?
If the Seraiki province is carved out, will the government next look at the Hazara belt and its plea for a separate province as well? Or does their interest lie only in the breaking down of Punjab?

Division of Punjab:A dangerous Move

Jalbani Baloch

Punjab has already paid the price at the time of creation of Pakistan. It was divided into two states, one became part of India and other of Pakistan. Further divisions of Punjab must not be made, and boundaries of all other provinces including Punjab may be considered as sacred. Saraiki is not a nation by any historical definitions, it is a conglomeration of different tribes and races, which have occupied this area in different periods of history. Historically, Sindh was a separate country, and its borders covered Sibi, Multan and a larger part of Rajistan. In later period of history, the borders were redefined and Multan including other Saraiki belt become an integral part of Punjab. Most of the people in this area are ethnically Baloch, who migrated from Sidbi due to their internal tribal wars. They abandoned their language and adopted Saraiki Language. Therefore, they should consider themselves as Punjabi Baloch, and should not assert or claim as their own identity of being Saraiki. The division of other provinces e.g. KPK, Sindh and Balochistan will be no less than a dangerous move, and I fear that it will be a great blow to the sovereignty of Pakistan.

Curtsey:Dawn.COM: May 5, 2012

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