LAHORE – Activists under the banner of Punjabi Parchar staged a protest against the planned partition of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, outside the Lahore Press Club on Saturday and rejected the proposal altogether.

Organisations including Pakistan Punjabi Adabi Board, Dil Darya Pakistan, Punjabi Adabi Bethak, Punjabi Khoj Garh, Lokai, Punjabi Adabi Sangat, Saada Punjab, Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (Punjab) besides others also joined the demonstration alongside poets, artists and students.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjabi Parchar President Ahmed Raza contended that few political forces were engaged in a failed bid for political leverage, invoking the issue of partition on administrative lines.

‘Punjab is still better as compared to other provinces as far as the administration is concerned. It is a conspiracy to vouch for partition instead of equal distribution of resources which would have consequences across the country,’ said Raza and added that people from across the province would take to street against this conspiracy.

Punjabi Parchar President Ahmed Raza.

Leader of Pakistan Punjabi Literary Board, Mushtaq Sufi shared that efforts were underway to partition the language of Punjab, however, he warned that such a bid would be staved off.

He urged the government to increase the resources instead of problems and take steps for progress at the local level.

‘Punjab is a centre of civilization and neither its identity nor its geography would be allowed to be altered,’ he vowed.

Moreover, senior Punjabi Poet Baba Najmi told the audience that partitioning Punjab was tantamount to tarnishing the nationalistic identity which ‘would not be permitted’.

‘If Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are revered as holy lands by the inhabitants, why not Punjab,’ Baba Najmi wondered and added that the province was like a motherland which would not be permitted to be partitioned.

Furthermore, Professor Jameel Paul expressed that the issues behind the proposal to partition Punjab were evident in other provinces as well. He wondered whether administrative problems existed in Punjab only, calling for devolution of resources.

Professor Paul also rejected the reason carved out of the geographical distance between Lahore and south Punjab as a basis for partition, questioning the distance between Ghotki and Karachi.

Punjabi Parchar General Secretary, Tariq Jatala shared that when a regime fails to deliver, it takes such steps to conceal its inefficiency. He called for the formation of an independent commission to look into the division of provinces instead of carving out a single province to spend the next seven decades in paving the way for more provinces.

Bulekha Media Group Chief, Mudasser Iqbal Butt said that new provinces should be made in Sindh if it’s inevitable.

‘Why was Fata merged in KPK instead of making a new province? Why new provinces are not made to eliminate the poverty in Balochistan?’ he wondered and reiterated that the partition of Punjab would not be permitted.

Punjabi Parchar Vice-President, Mian Asif Ali elaborated that the planned partition would be disastrous for south-Punjab as it would promote feudalism as well as linguistic clashes on same lines as happened in the 80s when Punjabis were forced out of Sindh; he stressed equal distribution of resources.

Renowned Punjabi poet and radio presenter Afzal Sahar observed that Punjab is famous across the world owing to its beautiful colours adding that to suppress the people, the proposal was under discussion.

Famed intellectual Aamir Riaz Toto shared that Punjab was first presented as a usurper and now a conspiracy was underway to make it paralytic. He warned that weakening Punjab was synonymous to weakening Pakistan which would not be allowed.

Punjabi Parchar Gujranwala leader, Khalil Aujla termed the feudal lords of south-Punjab as the main players behind the conspiracy to partition Punjab to save their fiefdom.

‘Now is the time for the elimination of feudal lords and it can’t be thwarted by chanting slogan of partition,’ Aujla added.

Leader of Punjabi Literary Bethk Sanjarpur Rahim Yar Khan, Rana Arshad Ahmed and President Dil Darya Pakistan, Ali Ahmed asserted that the inhabitants of south-Punjab were not desirous of partition and the proposal was aimed at depriving the masses instead of equal distribution of resources.

The protesters were addressed by Punjabi Literary Board General Secretary Parveen Malik, Dr Muhammad Khalid, Kalyan Singh, Zaheer Watoo, Saadat Ali Saqib, famed intellectual Nain Sukh, founder Punjabi Social Movement Zahir Bhatti, poet Hakeem Ahmed Naeem Arshad, Badar Seemab, Poet Tahira Sira, famed novelists Abdul Majeed, Punjabi Sevak Shehzad Ammar, Ghazala Nizam Din, Mateen Syed, Bashir Mayo, and Zia Ullah Sira as well.