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Balochistan Assembly calls for increase in number of provincial constituencies

Quetta: Balochistan Assembly on Saturday urged the federal government to review the recent delimitations across the province and increase the number of provincial assembly seats based on the evident increase in population.

The assembly adopted a resolution to further the concerns of political parties regarding the ‘reduced’ number of provincial assembly seats allocated to the province.

“Despite the increase in Balochistan’s population reflected in the 2017 census, provincial seats have not been increased,” Mir Asim Kurd Gailo, the provincial minister for communication and works department briefed the house.

Gailo tabled the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the treasury and opposition benches.

The house requested the federal government to add 20 provincial assembly seats in view of growing population in the province.

According to the 1998 census, the population of Balochistan was 6.5 million and there were only 51 seats allotted to the province at the time.

“The latest census figures have revealed that the population in Balochistan rose to 12.3 million over the last 20 years but the number of seats still remain the same,” Dr Ruqia Saeed Hashmi, a PML-Q legislator lamented.

The provincial lawmakers voiced concerns about the recent delimitations and termed them politically motivated.

Furthermore, they lashed out at the election commission and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for what they claimed were unjust delimitations.

“There is no [real] importance of the recent increase in national assembly seats,” Mir Khalid Langove complained, referring to the preliminary list of constituency delimitation released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on March 5 which has increased Balochistan’s share in the National Assembly from 14 in 2013 to 16 in 2018.

“The centre is following divide and rule policy in Balochistan,” Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, a legislator from JUI (F) said.

Nasrullah Zarai of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) too backed the resolution and urged the federal government to address the reservations of political parties in the province regarding constituency delimitation.

ECP has released a preliminary report for 30 days and voters have been asked to file any objections to the new delimitation on or before April 3.

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