ISLAMABAD: In what would reflect the growing trend of rural population’s migration to urban areas, particularly to big cities, the federal and all the four provincial capitals are set to have an increased share of National Assembly seats following the delimitation exercise in accordance with the provisional census results.
Though Punjab’s share is to go down from 148 to 141 out of the total 272 National Assembly seats, as many as 15 districts of the largest province will see either downward or upward change, a thorough district-wise analysis of the census statistics reveals.
Despite the loss of seven seats in Punjab, Lahore’s tally of seat is set to rise from 13 to 14. With its population standing at 11.12 million, Lahore’s share comes to 14.26, which clearly means an additional seat.
Delimitation for NA constituencies to reflect migration from rural to urban areas
Muzaffargarh, with a population of 4.32m, is entitled to a share of 5.54. With the fractional part clearly translating into an additional seat, the number of seats in the district will increase from five to six.
Likewise, Dera Ghazi Khan presently has three National Assembly seats. With a population of 2.87m, its share comes to 3.68 and the number of seats is set to rise from three to four.
Rajanpur (2) has a population of 1.99m and with its share of 2.55 qualifies for an additional seat.
Losers in Punjab
The eleven districts of Punjab destined to lose one seat each are: Attock, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Narowal, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang, Sahiwal, Okara and Pakpattan.
Attock, having a population of 1.88m, has a share of 2.41 and the number of its seats is set to come down from three to two. Gujranwala, with a population of five million, has a share of 6.42, with the number of its seats destined to go down from seven to six.
Hafizabad (population 1.15m) is also set to lose one of the two seats as its share comes to 1.48.
Narowal has a population of 1.7m and with its share of 2.19 is to lose one of three seats it currently holds. Likewise, Kasur (population 3.4m) has a share of 4.43 and will clearly lose one out of five seats.
Sheikhupura district had seven National Assembly seats in the last delimitation, but then the new district of Nankana Sahib was carved out of it. With their population standing at 3.45m and 1.35m respectively, their shares come to 4.43 and 1.73.
Now Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib qualify for four and two seats respectively.
The same will be the case for Jhang and Chiniot districts, which were one at the time of last delimitation and had six seats. Their current shares are 3.52 and 1.76 with their populations standing at 2.74m and 1.36m respectively. Jhang, despite qualifying for four seats under the round-off formula, spelt out in the election rules 2017’s chapter on delimitation, will get only three due to tough competition and rest of the two will go to Chiniot. In simple words Jhang is most likely to lose one seat.
Sahiwal, with a population of 2.51m, will have a share of 3.22 and lose one of its four seats. Okara presently has five seats, but on the basis of its population of 3m, its share comes to 3.89 to qualify it only for four seats.
Pakpattan has a population of 1.82m and its share comes to 2.33, meaning it would lose one of the three seats.
Faisalabad is also among the losers with the number of its seats going down to 10 from 11 as it has a population of 7.87m and its share is 10.09.
Gainers in Punjab
Lahore, with a population of 11.12m, is set to have the number of its National Assembly seats increased from 13 to 14, with its share coming to 14.26.
Muzaffargarh district currently having five seats now qualifies for six. Its population is 4.32m and the share coming to 5.54. Likewise, Dera Ghazi Khan’s tally is also set to rise from three to four with its population of 2.87m and share of 3.68.
Rajanpur has a population of 1.99m and its share of 2.55 qualifies it for an additional seat to take the total to three.
Gainers in other provinces
In Sindh, the six districts of Karachi, having a population of over 16m, have a share of 20.58, clearly indicating that the number of their seats will increase from 20 to 21. Shikarpur district, presently having two seats, now has a share of 1.57 and might be the loser in close race for retention of existing strength of seats.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar district, with four seats at present, is all set to have an additional seat. The district’s proportionate share in the 39 seats of the province stands at 5.47 with its population swelling to 4.26.
Swat, with a population of 2.30, has a share of 2.96 to qualify for a third additional seat. Lower Dir, currently having one seat, is also poised to get an additional seat. It has a population of 1.43m and the share comes to 1.84.
Dera Ismail Khan, at present, has one whole seat and it shares a second with the tiny district of Tank. But according to the new population figures, Dera Ismail Khan now qualifies for two whole seats with its share standing at 2.08. Tank’s share is 0.50 and the two districts with their collective score qualify for a third seat.
In Balochistan, the proportionate share of Quetta stands at 5.41 while it currently has four seats. That means the provincial capital will definitely get a fifth seat. Kech and Gwadar districts, with a collective share of 1.50, in all probability will get an additional seat. They currently share one.
The number of seats in federal capital Islamabad will also increase from two to three.
With the Fata seats frozen at 12, there shall be one National Assembly seat for a population of 779,895, and the rest of 260 seats are to be distributed among provinces and the federal capital proportionate to their share in population. The share of each district is calculated by dividing its population with per seat quota (779,895).
Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018