LAHORE: Estranged PML-N MNA Khusro Bakhtiar said that soaring poverty rate in South Punjab had led them to launch a new political front to push for demands for carving out a new province for the neglected region.
“In 10 districts of South Punjab, poverty rate has been recorded at 43 percent, which is much higher compared to the poverty rate in upper Punjab,” Bakhtiar said while speaking on SAMAA’s prime-time current affairs show ‘Nadeem Malik Live’ on Monday.
“It has been our historical demand and we have realized that this cannot be done from the floors of assemblies, “said Bakhtiar who along five other MNAs and two MPAs formed a political party called Janoobi Punjab Mahaz.
“My father had raised the issue in 1998. Unfortunately main parties present resolutions but do nothing to implement them,” he lamented.
To a question, he dispelled the impression that the demand was just an excuse to walk away from the ruling PML-N.
“It’s not an excuse because I wasn’t elected on any party’s ticket. I will knock every door in the province to achieve our legitimate demand,” he added.
MNA Tahir Cheema, who was named the party’s general secretary, said that this was a matter of people’s genuine demand.
Mr Cheema regretted that former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had missed the opportunity to form South Punjab province.
Dost Muhammad Khosa, a former chief minister and member of Punjab Assembly from Dera Ghazi Khan, welcomed the establishment of new party.
“Better late than never. I was the first lawmaker from South Punjab to raise the issue in the assembly. I had not only made a demand for a separate province, but also submitted practical proposals,” Khosa said.
Story first published: 9th April 2018