The Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) on Friday submitted a bill in the National Assembly Secretariat for increasing the number of provinces in Pakistan to eight.
The bill submitted by MQM-P legislator Kishwer Zehra calls for the creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces within the existing Punjab, as well as two provinces each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Sindh.
The bill recommends that the existing KP be divided into a Hazara province and KP, while Sindh should be split into Northern Sindh and Southern Sindh.
The eight provinces proposed by the MQM-P would be Punjab, South Punjab, Bahawalpur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Hazara, Northern Sindh, Southern Sindh, and Balochistan.
The bill calls for the total number of general and women’s seats in the NA to be increased from 332 to 335.
It provides a breakdown of NA seats if the changes are implemented: three for Islamabad, nine for Hazara, 20 for Balochistan, 32 for Southern Sindh, 38 for Southern Punjab, 43 for Northern Sindh, 55 for K-P, and 117 for Punjab.
MQM-P has also demanded an increase in Senate seats from 104 to 188, proposing eight seats for FATA, four for Islamabad, and 22 each for the eight provinces.
In January this year, the country’s main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) submitted a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly seeking the formation of two more provinces –Bahawalpur and South Punjab – by dividing up the largest province of Punjab.
In September, a constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the Senate seeking the creation of a new province under the name of Bahawalpur-Janoobi Punjab.
The bill to create a new province by bifurcating Punjab was jointly sponsored by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmakers Bahramand Tangi, Rubina Khalid, Imamuddin Shouqeen, Sikandar Mandhro, Islamuddin Shaikh, Gianchand, Keshoo Bai, Sherry Rehman, and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Mushtaq Ahmed.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019, sought amendments of Articles 1, 51, 59, 106, 175A, 198 and 218. The bill mainly determines the allocation of seats for the assembly of the proposed Bahawalpur-Janoobi Punjab province and setting up of High Court there.