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NA speaker chairs meeting of parliamentary parties over delimitation bill

NA speaker chairs meeting of parliamentary parties over delimitation bill”

Realising importance of the matter, Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq promptly chaired two rounds of talks with parliamentary leaders and it was announced before media that the parties have finalised a draft bill for delimitation of constituencies.

The exiting constitutional provision stipulates that the ECP can conduct delimitations only after final results of the census are officially notified.

He told that the Election Commission had set a deadline of November 10 for passage of legislation in the Parliament for delimitation of constituencies.

In addition to the low presence, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had voiced their concerns over the provisional census results. MNA of PTI Shireen Mazari said the reservations of parties should be removed. At that time, no opposition member raised any objection against the bill but it is surprising that now when the consensus document was presented before the National Assembly on Thursday, three main opposition parties including PPP, PTI and MQM negated their earlier stance and raised different objections to the amendment. "Had they any reservations, these would have been discussed and get addressed at the level of parliamentary leaders" meeting. The government had specially summoned this session of the National Assembly for passage of the constitutional amendment for delimitation of constituencies.

A constitutional amendment requires a vote by two-thirds of members (228 in the 342-member House).

Leaders of the Awami National Party and the Jamaat-e-Islami called for passing the bill for delimitation of constituencies, calling it vital for ensuring timely elections.

Later, the PTI too joined the opposition parties, saying it will not support the bill until the opposition parties' concerns are not addressed.

PPP MNA Naveed Qamar his party has no objection over the constitutional amendments but the issue could be sent to Council of Common Interests (CCI) and other constitutional forums. "We should move forward in accordance with the Constitution", he said. Minister for Housing Akram Khan Durrani proposed that the speaker should adjourn the house for two days and hold meeting of parliamentary leaders to develop consensus again on the bill. He said that all political parties should fulfill their responsibility for this legislation.

The sources said the bill has been placed on the agenda as the government could not take it back without any reason. The JI leader said, "If the ECP approaches the apex court then election may be delayed". Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao of QWP said that the seats of small provinces (KP and Balochistan) are being increased through this legislation.

The Speaker said the meeting could help overcome the differences that emerged between the political parties over the figures of the census.

He said nine seats of Punjab were decreased but still nobody from the province raised any hue and cry and supported the new bills. He said, "Parliamentary leaders have taken decision in the meeting but their leadership did not agree with them".

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