MULTAN - Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that some elements were creating complications and hurdles in the establishment of South Punjab province by dividing the people.

Multan, he said, was emerging as a hub of business activities in South Punjab and with the establishment of a new province, trade would further enhance in the region.

The City had become another big centre of media after Lahore, he added.

The Foreign Minister was speaking as chief guest at a ceremony held here in honour of the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Bahauddin Zakariya University(BZU) Prof Dr Tariq Mahmood Ansari by All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran.

The Minister said that he was personally in favour of only one province in the South Punjab. Currently, nobody should think of two or more provinces, however, in future, the number of provinces could be enhanced, he added.

Qureshi said that he presented the case of South Punjab province in the meetings of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf with reference to regional statistics, population of the area, good governance and devolution of powers.

The Indian Punjab was smaller than Pakistan’s Punjab, but they (India) carved out three provinces from it.

The Pakistani Punjab was even bigger than many European countries, he added.  The establishment of South Punjab province, he said, would further strengthen the Federation.

Qureshi said that small provinces had also complaints against Punjab.

Politicians like Wali Khan, Bizenjo, Bugti and Mengal had always voiced that Punjab was dominating the country’s politics, he said.

If reviewed on merit and logic, the creation of South Punjab province was inevitable now, he added.

The Minister expressed the need for long-term foreign and economic policies based on national consensus. Decisions of national importance should be taken with consensus, he added.

Without national consensus, a comprehensive foreign policy could not be framed, he said.

Input from academia and intellectuals, he said, was being included in the policy-making.

He had included three persons from academia in the Foreign Office Advisory Council, he said.

Similarly, retired Foreign Secretaries had also been made part of the Advisory Council as the government wanted to take benefit from their experience and capabilities, he added.

The retired Secretaries, who had worked with different governments in the past and had vast experience in international affairs, were invited to make the future roadmap of the country’s foreign policy, he added.

He lauded Vice Chancellor Dr Tariq Mahmood Ansari for his services in promoting education in the region.

He hoped that new VC would improve ranking of the university by ensuring matchless research work.

Qureshi also extolled local traders and journalists for playing a role for uplift of the area. He hoped that they would continue to contributing for betterment of the region.

A good number of traders and resident editors of different national dailies attended the ceremony.