SIALKOT   -  The public campaign “Make Sialkot a Division” is getting momentum on social media with each passing day as people, belonging to all walks of life, demand divisional status for Sialkot due to its global industrial significance and geographical importance.

Talking to media, Mian Naeem Javaid, former nazim Sialkot district and ex-president Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), said that divisional status for Sialkot was a longstanding demand of the people of Sialkot. He added that Sialkot deserved to be made a division, for it had its own international airport, dry port and export processing zone. “Sialkot has more population than Narowal and Gujrat districts and stands second in exports after Karachi,” he said, adding that the district had the oldest cantonment as well.

He continued that Sialkot had been contributing $2.5 billion annually to the national economy through exports. “Besides, it has been playing a pivotal role in promoting business and trade activities in the region.” He said that Narowal had been part of Sialkot district as it was given the status of district in 1990 on political grounds by then caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi.

He urged Prime Minister Imran Khan, Punjab Governor Ch Sarwar and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to grant division status to Sialkot, comprising three districts - Sialkot, Narowal and Gujrat.

Local PTI leader Khawaja Arif Ahmed (advocate) said that divisional status was the basic right of Sialkot as it fulfilled all official requirements for the status. He said that this status could help boost the socio-economic and human development activities in Sialkot region.

He added that the local PTI leadership fully supported the campaign for making Sialkot a division, and the issue would be raised before the party’s senior executive committee in Islamabad. He said that the PTI would also take up this matter in the coming session of Punjab Assembly.

Meanwhile, the PPP also announced its full support for divisional status to Sialkot. PPP Sialkot City President Azhar Ali Diyal, General Secretary Ali Naseer Ahmed and PPP Sialkot spokesperson Javaid Happy Butt said that divisional status to Sialkot was need of the hour. They said that Punjab government should make Sialkot a division purely on ground realities and not on political grounds.

Sialkot based leading lawyers-cum-human rights activists Ghazala Adnan, Aliya Hina and Shahid Mir announced to start lawyers’ campaign to press the government to give division status to Sialkot. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sialkot General Secretary Afzal Sulehri (advocate), JI leader Mian Fareed Masud and JI Sialkot Spokesperson Arif Mehmood Sheikh also supported the campaign.