|• Type||Self-governing administrative secretariat to the Federal government|
|• Body||Administrative Secretariat of South Punjab|
|• Chief Secretary||Saqib Zafar|
|• Total||102,301 km2 (39,499 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:00 (PST)|
|Main Language(s)||Saraiki, Urdu and others|
Saraikistan (Saraiki: سرائیکستان) or South Punjab (Urdu: جنوبی پنجاب) is a proposed new province of Pakistan, comprising the areas which has a majority of Saraikis in the southern part of Punjab province. Made up of Bahawalpur Division, Multan Division and Dera Ghazi Khan Division, the proposed Saraikistan forms about 52 percent of the total area and 32 percent of the population of Punjab province. Saraikistan has a population of 34,743,590 as of 2017, up from 23,507,210 in 1998.
In 2012, Punjab Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly passed resolutions for the creation of new province in Punjab. These resolutions were supported by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PMLN) and was passed.
In 2013 election the PPP tried to mobilize the Seraiki voters over the Saraikistan province creation. But they got only one National Assembly seat from the Saraikistan region.
In 2018 the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) promised to create a new province in South Punjab within the first 100 days of taking office, if they win. PTI won the election and won 30 out of 50 seats of the National Assembly seats in South Punjab. On August 15, 2018, the PTI MPA of Punjab Assembly, Mohsin Leghari tables a resolution for the creation of a new province in South Punjab.
In 2022 the Senate accept a bill seeking creation of South Punjab province on 18 January, was supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
In 2020, a separate secretariat was established for southern areas of Punjab (Saraikistan). The secretariat is made up of Dera Ghazi Khan Division, Multan Division and Bahawalpur Division. It became officially operational on 15 October 2020. Initially the departments of Services and General administration (S & GAD), Home department, Health, Education, Agriculture, Planning and Development, Live stock and dairy development, Local government and community development, Housing, urban development and Public health engineering, Irrigation, Forest, Communication and works, Revenue and Police are included in the separate Administrative Secretariat of Saraikistan region with following officers:
The Saraikistan Qaumi Council demanded the creation of Saraikistan province by merging 24 districts in South Punjab and 2 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts, there 70 percent of the people speaks Seraiki).
The Main Political parties PTI, PPP and PML(N) have difference on the geography of Saraikistan. The PPP supports the formation of the South province by merging 11 districts of Punjab and 2 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI supports the formation of the South Punjab province by merging 11 districts South Punjab only. The PML(N) supports the formation of two provinces in South Punjab - the Bahawalpur Province and another South Punjab province containing Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan divisions.
The major native language spoken in the South Punjab is Saraiki and mostly spoken in most parts of South Punjab, Punjabi also popular in eastern part of Bahawalpur Division, Urdu is widely used as a lingua franca in official.
Saraiki, Punjabi and Baloch people in South Punjab believe Islam, most are Sunnis.