ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed the constitutional amendment bill on delimitation.
Moreover, the bill regarding the amendment to Elections Bill 2017, which pertains to restoring the finality of Prophethood clause to its original form, was also passed in the assembly.
Both the bills were presented before the assembly by Law Minister Zahid Hamid. The bills will now be sent to the Senate for approval.
Prior to the National Assembly session, a meeting of the parliamentary leaders was held, which was chaired by NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. The meeting decided that all the parties are in unison over the delimitation bill.
However, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan had shared some reservations regarding the bill. Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique suggested that to resolve their reservations, another session of Council of Common Interests (CCI) can be summoned.
During the meeting, MQM-Pakistan Chief Farooq Sattar reiterated his demand for the census to be held again. He said that the “census should be held again in at least 10 blocks in Karachi.”
The meeting participants had also decided to restore the finality of Prophethood clause to its original form in the Elections Act 2017.
On Wednesday, a similar meeting was postponed as the parties failed to reach a consensus over the finality of Prophethood clause.
Moreover, no member of Pakistan Peoples Party had appeared for the meeting of parliamentary leaders. However, Ayaz Sadiq had called Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah during the session.
“All demands of Khursheed Shah have been met,” Ayaz said while speaking to media.
All parties agree on draft bill for delimitation: Ayaz Sadiq
On November 1, Ayaz Sadiq had shared that the draft bill for the delimitation of constituencies has been agreed upon by all the parliamentary parties.
Addressing the media after a meeting of political parties, Sadiq said all parties are united with regards to the bill and will vote for in the NA when it is tabled.
According to the new delimitation, Punjab’s seat share will decrease by nine seats, while Islamabad will get one more seat, KPK will get five and Balochistan will be given three more.
NA seats for FATA and Sindh will remain unchanged.
In response to a question, Sadiq said a total of 780,000 people will be represented on one NA seat after the readjustment.
On November 31, after chairing a similar meeting, Sadiq had informed the media that the total NA seats will remain 272 but there would be a change in the allocation of NA seats for the provinces.
“The number of seats for Punjab will decrease, KP and Balochistan will see an increase, while an additional seat would be allocated for Islamabad.”
It was decided at the meeting that nine NA seats from Punjab, out of which seven are general and two are reserved for women, will be decreased. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will witness an increase of five seats, of which four will be general seats and one reserved for women candidates.
Balochistan will see an increase of three national assembly seats, two general and one for women. Sindh and Fata will not see any changes in the number of seats, while Islamabad Capital Territory would have an increase of one seat in the NA.
CCI approves delimitation on provisional census results
On November 13, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved delimitation of new constituencies on the basis of provisional results of Population Census 2017, paving a way for timely conduct of next general elections.
The 33rd meeting of the CCI was attended by chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, who resolved to hold elections on time.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the meeting, with federal ministers for inter-provincial coordination, industries and production, and finance also in presence.
The meeting approved usage of provisional census results for delimitation process.
Briefing the media, PM’s special aide Musaddiq Mailk said the political leadership resolved a major constitutional crisis through wisdom. “The election commission will immediately start working on delimitation of new constituencies following a constitutional amendment,” he said.