What does the emergence of new provinces mean for Pakistan?

News Analysis

On the 13th of February, PML-N party members submitted a bill in the National Assembly for the creation of the Hazara province.

The bill, itself looks into the matter of constitutional amendments, specifically in Article-51 of the National Assembly, Article-59 of the Senate and in Article-106 of the Provincial Assembly, regarding the creation of the Hazara province, following the amendment bills that were submitted for the creation of the Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces.

PML-N party member Malik Sajjad Awan moved the bill with his signature. The bill also included the signatures of party members Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Malik Afreen Khan.

In the bill they also stated that the KP Assembly had previously passed a bill for the creation of the Hazara province, back in 2014.

Why PML-N wants a separate province for the Hazara’s?

In the capacity of a leader, for the people of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif had been promising a separate province for the Hindko-speaking Hazara’s. And according to, Azizullah Khan, a free-lance writer who wrote an article on the significance of the Hazara province in 2012, the reason why Nawaz Sharif was pushing for the creation of the Hazara province was to win over the electorate of the Hazara division.

Therefore the step taken by Sajjad Awan could also be seen as a way of winning the favor of the Hazaran people. As mentioned before, the amendment mentioned in the bill for Article-51 of the National Assembly, would result therein to include Hazara as a province with 11 general seats and three reserved seats for women, which make a total of 14 seats. Therefore, on the possible chance that Hazara is made into a province, PML-N could take credit for being the political party to push for the creation of the concerned province and in turn, gain support from the Hazaran’s.    

This can be seen more as a political move than a move to bring representation of the Hazara’s into the politics of Pakistan. More often than not, the province of Hazara has been neglected and kept at the sidelines of politics even after, people like, Baba Haider Zaman of the Tehreek Suba Hazara (TSH) defeated the representatives of all other major political parties, such as, PTI, PML-N and JI, in the 2013 elections after publicly announcing his support for the creation of the Hazara province.

The Hazaras’ were also against the idea of renaming NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was the second reason influencing the Hazaras’ to support PML-N and Nawaz Sharif, however, that was not to last. Ironically, this pushed the Hazaras’ to demand for a separate province even more, due to which a lot of instability was created in the region.

Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces

The PML-N had initially resisted the idea of granting the provincial status to South Punjab and Bahawalpur thinking that there may be a break in political consolidation and provincial autonomy as a result of the province of Punjab splitting up. However, this was not to last as the idea of Bahawalpur and South Punjab becoming a province is now only a matter of time and ironically, PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Marriyum Aurangzeb passed bills in January for the amendments in the constitution for the allowance of the two new provinces. The three new potential provinces could shake up the political system and cause a power shift in favor of PML-N.

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