Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Wednesday that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will table a bill in the National Assembly for the creation of the South Punjab province.
Qureshi announced at a press conference after Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting regarding South Punjab.
While making the announcement Qureshi congratulated the people of South Punjab for their sacrifices and said that a final look for the province was now becoming a reality.
The foreign minister shared that 35% of Punjab’s budget will be set aside for South Punjab. He added that in the past the funds for the region were promised but not allocated.
“Now a strategy has been formulated for the protection of the funds so they can be released at once,” said Qureshi.
He also shared that in April an additional chief secretary and an additional inspector general of police of south would be appointed. He added that one official will set up his/her office in Multan, while the other will set up an office in Bahawalpur.
“The decision has also been taken to set up a South Punjab secretariat,” said Qureshi, adding that Rs3.5 billion has been allocated for the secretariat.
He added that adequate measures are being taken to fulfil the promise of a South Punjab province.
Qureshi, while making a case for South Punjab, said that once a province has been created then it will also get its share from the National Finance Commission Award.
The PTI leader also shared that PM Imran has called a meeting of the parliamentary party on Thursday to take them into confidence on the issue. The minister also said that the ruling party will start reaching out to other political parties in this regard as well.
“Right now, no party has a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” said Qureshi. He also hoped that Pakistan Peoples Party would throw its support behind the bill. He also urged Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leaders in the Senate and National Assembly to convince their leadership to support the bill.
“The capital of South Punjab will be decided after consultations with the government and the people,” said the lawmaker from Multan when asked about where the capital of the province would be established.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting regarding South Punjab, which was attended by senior government officials and lawmakers from South Punjab.
The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, Food Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.