Monday Apr 09, 2018
LAHORE: As many as eight Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmakers, including six MNAs and two MPAs, parted ways with the ruling party on Monday, announcing the launch of a mass movement to make southern Punjab a separate province.
“The purpose of the press conference is to announce the movement Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaaz to create a new province,” Khusro Bakhtiar said while addressing a press conference in Lahore along with other disgruntled leaders.
“Making south Punjab a separate province is our one-point agenda,” he said.
Bakhtiar said that in the new south Punjab province, budget of one district won't be spent in another.
Bakhtiar, who is a member of the National Assembly from a PML-N seat, has previously served as minister of state for foreign affairs. Along with him, Tahir Iqbal (MNA from Vehari), Rana Muhammad Qasim (MNA from Multan), Basit Bukhari (MNA from Muzaffargarh), Sardar Dareshak and Saleemullah Chauhdry also announced that they were quitting the PML-N.
Stating that they will create a separate province for southern Punjab, Bakhtiar said, “Poverty rate is higher than 51% in southern Punjab.”
"The creation of a separate province for southern Punjab is a one-point agenda," he added.
"I greatly admire and respect Lahore but cannot forget the pain of south Punjab where my ancestors are buried," Bakhtiar added explaining the need for a separate province.
Bakhtiar added that the people and politicals of south Punjab are with him and will soon join their alliance.
The lawmakers said their alliance will be led by former interim prime minister Balakh Sher Mazari and Sardar Dareshak will be the co-chairman of the alliance.
On the occasion, two PML-N MPAs Ali Asghar Manda and Tariq Mehmood Bajwa announced they’ll be contesting in the 2018 general elections from the National Assembly as independent candidates.
Ali Asghar Manda has been a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab since 2008. He was elected to the Provincial Assembly of Punjab as a candidate of PML-N from PP-165 Sheikhupura-IV constituency in the 2008 general elections and was re-elected in 2013.
Tariq Mehmood Bajwa has also been a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab since 2008. He was elected to the Provincial Assembly of Punjab as a PML-N from PP-170 Nankana Sahib-I constituency in general elections 2008 and re-elected in 2013.
Earlier in 2002, both the MPAs contested general elections as independent candidates but were not elected.
In her reaction to the development, State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb called the party deserters as 'compulsive turncoats', she said that the people of Pakistan will reject them in the next polls.
Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson has welcomed the development and said that the recent development has proven that the PML-N's narrative is not even popular in their party folds.
"Khusro Bakhtiyar's announcement is a step towards the right direction," Chaudhry said. "PML-N's fate is no less different than the MQM's. Noone is satisfied with the performance of Punjab Chief Minister."