Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has submitted a constitutional amendment bill to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, proposing the establishment of South Punjab as Pakistan’s fifth province. The foreign minister requested the bill be made part of the house’s agenda on Monday. The bill would split Punjab into two provinces, with Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions constituting the new South Punjab.
The establishment of South Punjab as the fifth province of Pakistan was one the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI)’s campaign promises.
“Today we have fulfilled another promise made to the people of South Punjab”, Qureshi said on the occasion, joined by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri.
As proposed, the South Punjab province would have 56 seats, including 46 general seats, in the NA and 119 seats in its provincial assembly. The new province would be comprised of Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions, according to a draft of the amendment circulated by the Ministry of Law and Justice on Thursday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has seemingly chosen to seek the cabinet’s approval through circulation instead of through the regular cabinet meeting. Furthermore, the government does not have the required two-thirds majority in the NA to pass a constitutional amendment. Notably, the Punjab Assembly has never passed a resolution either to designate South Punjab as its own province.
The move comes as the PTI continues its efforts to woo dissident PTI lawmakers back to the party before the crucial no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan, expected on Monday.