South Punjab Province

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The issue of South Punjab autonomy is back on the radar. The key would be not to lose sight yet again and maintain the momentum. During his visit to Bahawalpur, Prime Minister Imran Khan ensured the people of south Punjab that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is committed to mitigating the deprivation of the people of South Punjab by ensuring their just share in development budget and employment opportunities. On employment prospects, the government is considering allocating a job quota for South Punjab which, if done appropriately, would be commendable. From the very first day, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf made an electoral promise to create the South Punjab province. Indeed, the division of a province is not easy and requires much political give and take and several changes in the country’s constitutional and legal framework. But a fully functional and independent south Punjab secretariat equipped with complete administrative and financial powers could be the first effective step if the intentions are honest. In the 2018 election, the PTI had won the majority of seats in the national and provincial legislatures from south Punjab on the promise of creating a new “Janoobi Punjab province”. And everybody knows that despite all the promises the only reason that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has suddenly put the spotlight on southern Punjab is that the clock is ticking on the current electoral cycle and the next general election is hardly one-and-a-half years away; the final six months of which will be consumed by the campaign so there’s very little time in which to honor some of the most prominent promises from the last campaign. Surely, the Prime Minister hasn’t forgotten that these people helped the party win the general election last time, after Tareen flew them in his jet, quite literally, into the eager embrace of the party of change.

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