Issue :   
May 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2020


Crisis of identity

RC Ganjoo

Abdul Majeed Kanjoo Believe it or not, Pakistan is now facing an identity crisis. The Pakistan government has planned to create new South Punjab province out of its Punjab. The hidden agenda behind this division is to reduce the influence of Seraiki which are above 60 per cent in Punjab .
On March 1, 2020, six political parties united opposition under Molana Fazal ur Rahman, chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), and Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Chairmen Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), supported the demand of creation of a Saraikistan province. The opposition alliance was further strengthened by involving Abdul Majeed Kanjoo chief of Seraiki National Party(SNP), Abdul Latif Junejo of Sindhi United Party, Dr Dr. Qadir Magsi , head of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party , Mir Hasil Banjajo (National Balochistan Party), Prof.Sajid Mir of Jamiat Ahle Hadith,

Map of Punjab Pakistan Ahmad Khan Sherpao and Pakistan People's Party- Sherpao faction in a meeting. Indication are rife that the opposition front has started gaining momentum and appealed to other political elements in Pakistan to get united on this agenda.
In the proposed division plan, the Pakistan government has earmarked Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions in the name of south Punjab. Seraiki nationalists are not ready to accept the creation of a South Punjab secretariat as an alternative.
"We want a Seraiki province comprising 21 districts out of 36 in Pakistan, based on shared language, culture and history including two districts Tank and Dera Ismail Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well. We will not accept any other name except Seriaikistan," said Abdul Majeed Kanjoo, the chairperson of Seraiki National Party.

Map of Pakistan having 36 districts of which Sarakis demand 21 districts According to him, " the demand is restoration of historical geography of Multan, the formerly princely state of Bhawapur state of 1818 which Maharaja Ranjeet Singh had conquered on June 2, 1818." The creation of a Seraiki province would not only address the issue of deprivation but also the issue of cultural identity. The case of the Seraiki people has been acknowledged by the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM) which recognises the Seraikis as one of the five indigenous ethnicities of the country.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hopes that the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) will favour the bill. He also urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders in the Parliament to convince their leadership to support the bill.