Politics of new provinces
of Sindh Assembly, which is debating budget for the next financial year, were marred on Monday by bitter exchanges be tween the PPP and the MQM members over creation of a new Province. Of late, MQM has started making public demand for separation of Karachi and Hyderabad to create a new Province and the PPP is not ready to hear anything like this.
Though MQM is raising the demand openly, perhaps for the first time, about creation of a new Province in Sindh, apparently on linguistic basis, but so far there is no intensity in the demand. Its members are making passing references to a new Province during their speeches in the Senate, the National Assembly and the Sindh Assembly but there are no indications as yet that the party intends to put its entire weight behind the demand anytime soon for obvious reasons. It seems to be a tactic to pressurize the Provincial government to squeeze some concessions. We believe that the parties are doing no service either to the cause of new Province or to the country by churning out time-serving statements on the issue. What MQM is doing in Sindh is replication of what PPP did during its last tenure when all attempts were made to divide Punjab on linguistic lines by supporting not so popular demand for creation of a Saraiki Province. There were no sound reasons or justification to create a new Province except to deny Punjab of its size and stature in the Federation and that is why the demand did not get any support from people and the PPP was wiped out from the political landscape of South Punjab during last general elections. The motives of PPP became evident when a man from KPK, known for his anti-Punjab bias, was made head of the body assigned the task of preparing groundwork for creation of a Saraki Province. However, same people are not ready to listen to the demand of people of Hazara for creation of a new Province. One must give credit to PML(N), which is viewing the issue purely from professional angles and that is why Sartaj Aziz-led FATA Reform Committee is proposing merger of FATA with KPK despite a feeling in tribal areas that a new Province would be a better option. A critical analysis of the issue would tell that there was nothing wrong with the existing Provinces and it is question of only attitudes and parochialism and therefore, attempts to divide the society further on this issue should come to an end now.