Monday September 27, 2021

Qureshi slams ‘sabotage’ of South Punjab’s autonomy

April 07, 2021


ISLAMABAD: Any attempt to “sabotage” the administrative autonomy of South Punjab will meet tough resistance by political workers and the 40 million locals, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi vowed on Tuesday.

“We will ensure complete transfer of power in South Punjab,” Qureshi pledged in a meeting on administrative affairs of South Punjab through video link.

The foreign minister’s remarks come after a now-cancelled Punjab government notification issued on March 30 which rolled back the plan to grant South Punjab administrative autonomy. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Friday chalked it up to a “human error”.

Qureshi said South Punjab was included in the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the demand for South Punjab’s provincial autonomy was not linguistic or political, but rather an administrative desire.

He termed the March 30 notification a “conspiracy against power devolution in South Punjab” and was “in continuity of the previous such attempts”. Qureshi regretted that no strategy had been formulated to define the expenditure of Rs4 billion allocated for South Punjab and urged the bureaucracy to be serious in that regard.

“How many secretaries and inspectors general visited the districts of South Punjab,” he asked in the meeting. The foreign minister said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had a “golden opportunity” to ensure the implementation of the process leading towards the autonomy of South Punjab. He lauded the members of national and provincial assemblies and ministers hailing from South Punjab to reject the “conspiracy” of the notification. He mentioned that the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had promised to establish the South Punjab province, but later “demonstrated hypocrisy”.