More than half a decade prior to the Partition of India, the units that were to form Pakistan were given the authority to administer themselves. Point three of 1940’s Lahore resolution clearly made them ‘autonomous’ and ‘sovereign’. However, Pakistan took twenty five years to codify and incorporate this in its supreme law. Finally, they could be implement implemented when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) passed the 18th Amendment following Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s commitment to the nation in the Charter of Democracy and Election Manifesto. Today, the units of the state are independent, but can this be said about the sub-units (districts) of these units? Promising an 11.5 percent increase for 2019, whilst giving provinces Rs 2,316 billion instead of Rs 2,384 billion by NFC award, the FBR has achieved Rs3,935 billion instead of the Rs 4,013 billion target. Registering a decline of Rs 23.4 billion, Punjab’s share has been reduced to Rs 1,138.4 billion from Rs1161.8 billion. This reduction is going to fall on and influence whom? Of course, out of 36 districts one is going to remain an exception, who from 2016 to 2017 got the lions share and 58 percent of the development budget whilst three percent (Rs 8.2 billion) went to Multan and 2.72 percent to Bahawalpur. In 2018, this fixation remained the same. No voice was raised against this injustice either in the national or provincial assembly during the PML-N’s previous regime. Why? Why suddenly two months prior to the general elections a ‘Mahaaz’ got formed? What made the legislators not present the bill for Seraiki Waseeb’s rights? Why did no one question the health budget when all of South Punjab, which comprises 11 districts got Rs 17.75 Billion and Rs 36.75 were given to just Lahore? Similarly, nobody said anything when the literacy rate of these areas was observed at only 12 percent by a Centre for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI) study. Punjab is home to 110 million people. To make it more manageable, more units have to be formed. Cultural and linguistic differences were presented as reasons at first, but now it is more about administration and equal share in resources India and Pakistan came into existence only a few hours apart. India now has 27 states and Pakistan has only four (and half because Gilgit Baltistan has only been given provincial status, it has not been made a province yet). Technically speaking, the Indian constitution has given parliament to form new administrative units. Under its Article 2, this can be easily done by a ‘simple legislation’. Not even a referendum is needed. Though its constitution is more flexible than ours, but ours ensures more democratic transparency by allowing the unit to be divided to have its say. All due to the 18th amendment; prior to which our supreme law was absolutely silent about what procedures and rules had to be followed for the formation of more provinces. This too could be a reason for us only having four provinces. However, previous governments owe it to explain why this wasn’t done during their time. A movement very similar to the Janoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM) was started by Muhammad Ali Durrani for a Bahawalpur province. Whether coincidence or not, it commenced merely a few months before the 2013 General Elections. Not only did the Punjab assembly unanimously pass a resolution in another unit’s favour, the Chairman Senate, Nayyar Bukhari, also formed a commission to erase Yahya Khan’s LFO from the Constitution. Article 239(4) of the 1973 constitution states: “a Bill ….. altering the limits of a Province shall not be presented to the President for assent unless it has been passed by the Provincial Assembly … by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership”. That means either all political parties must be on the same page (much like they were for the 21th amendment and 31th amendment) or the political party sincere with the cause of giving the Sooba Janoobi Punjab its voice must have majority in the parliament as well as the Punjab assembly. From 2013 to 2018, the PMLN has formed the majority enough times that it needed no one to execute what Shahbaz Sharif promised on May 13, 2012 in Bahawalpur; however, soon after the elections, no one (not even Durrani himself) stepped forward to remind the PML-N of its promise. In the 2013 General Elections, 34 independent MPAs were elected while PTI only won 30 seats from Punjab. It had 32 MNAs whilst independent candidates grabbed 16 MNA seats. In other words, the independent candidates showed far better results than the PTI. In general elections 2013, 34 independent MPAs were elected while PTI won only 30 seats from overall Punjab. It had 32 MNAs whilst independent candidates grabbed 16 MNA seats. In other words, the independent candidates showed far better result than PTI. But he was so confident that his party would win, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s Chief, Imran Khan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the JPSM without a second thought. Two essential points, the legal status of the agreement and the writ to enforce it, were not discussed. Punjab is home to 110 million people. To make it more manageable, more units have to be formed. Cultural and linguistic differences were presented first, but now it is more about administration, equal share in resources, using revenue from the centre via NFC awards as per own requirements and priorities rather than (Metros) someone else desires, and freedom to make own decisions. But the question is who is sincere and has been ‘constant’? Despite not being in the parliament, Bilawal Bhutto has kept on stressing on Ghinso ghinso Seraiki Sooba ghinso, just like his mother, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who, back in 1990s, when Pakistan Oppressed Nations’ Movement (PONM) was launched, stood tall with them. Now Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is all set to contest for Parliament for the very first time. Is it his time to deliver a new province to the people of South Punjab? Only time will tell. The writer is an Attorney-at-law, BZU/GLC alumna — a gold medallist, columnist and blogger. She tweets at @HinaMaharN Published in Daily Times, May 28th 2018.