ISLAMABAD: A key legal hitch in the way of next general elections has been removed as the polls watchdog issued final lists of national and provincial assembly constituencies, bringing down the total number of National Assembly seats from the existing 342 to 336.
Under the 25th Amendment, the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The amendment abolished 12 NA seats of Fata and allocated six seats to KP on the basis of population. As a result, the number of general seats in the lower house of parliament came down to 266 from 272.
The fresh delimitation will now give effect to the amendment.
Women and minority seats will remain unchanged at 60 and 10, respectively.
As for provinces, Punjab will have 141 general seats in NA, Sindh 61, KP 45, and Balochistan 16. Islamabad will have three seats.
Fata’s 12 seats abolished, KP given six more; PPP finds fault with watchdog’s exercise
Under Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act 2017, delimitation was conducted on the basis of population determined in the last census.
The ECP had cited legal hitches in conducting the elections before October, including the absence of delimitation, in case the National Assembly was dissolved by the then ruling PTI, inviting scathing criticism from the party.
Following the publication of final delimitation lists for 266 national and 593 provincial assembly constituencies by the ECP, the PPP rejected the exercise carried out on the basis of “flawed” census.
In charge of the party’s Central Election Cell Senator Taj Haider said delimitation could not be done on the basis of “faulty and controversial population figures”.
He said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had accepted that the figures obtained in Census 2017 were incorrect and while validating the provisional figures in spite of Sindh’s dissenting vote had ordered a fresh census which was to be concluded before December 31, 2022.
“It is an irony that the controversial part of the CCI decision is being followed and the agreed part of conducting a fresh census is being ignored on various excuses. Such unfair tactics remain unwise and counter-productive. As we have seen these give rise to many more short-term and long-term problems and divisive controversies rather than amicably solving existing problems,” he remarked.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022