Parliamentary panel approves draft bill for delimitation of constituencies

Updated November 02, 2017

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National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq presiding over a meeting of the special parliamentary committee at Parliament House on Wednesday.—APP
National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq presiding over a meeting of the special parliamentary committee at Parliament House on Wednesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: A special parliamentary committee has approved a draft bill regarding delimitation of constituencies and decided to introduce it in the National Assembly on Thursday.

This was stated by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq after a meeting of the committee held at Parliament House on Wednesday.

The committee had on Tuesday reached a consensus that the number of seats in the National Assembly would remain 272, but fresh delimitation of constituencies would be carried out before the next general elections in the light of the census.

Speaker hopes proposed law will be passed by NA, Senate smoothly

The speaker expressed the hope that the bill would be passed by the National Assembly and the Senate smoothly.

Delimitation of constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies is mandatory under the fresh census and the government has decided that it would keep the present 272 seats intact in the National Assembly. A constitutional amendment is required with a two-thirds majority for delimitation of constituencies.

Officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Statics Division and law ministry attended the meeting.

The meeting was also attended by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Sheikh, Minister for Housing Akram Durrani, Shah Mehmood Qureshi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the Awami National Party, Dr Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Sahibzada Tariqullah of the Jamaat-i-Islami and Mehmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.

During the meeting, minute details of the 2017 census were presented before the members and census record of even tehsils’ level was shared.

The issue of delimitation of constituencies and increase in the number of seats was referred to the National Assembly by the federal cabinet in its meeting on Oct 25.

Under laws, the ECP is empowered to carry out delimitation of constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies as well as local bodies.

A fresh legislation is required to allow the ECP to do so on the basis of the census results.

In August, the Council of Common Interests had approved provisional results of the sixth census that put the country’s population at 207.77 million with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2017