Constituencies’ delimitation bill sails through Senate

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

In an important step towards timely conduct of next general elections and ending prevailing uncertainty on the political front, the Senate on Tuesday finally passed the crucial constitutional amendment for delimitation of constituencies with 84 voting in favour of the motion and one against.
The 24th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017 will allow the conduct of delimitation of constituencies on the basis of provisional census results. The National Assembly had already passed the bill last month but passage from the upper house witnessed delay due to certain reservations of the opposition parties especially PPP.
It merits mentioning here that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on Friday held a breakfast meeting with the parliamentary leaders which helped evolve consensus on the constitutional amendment.
Under the terms of the amendment, the number of NA seats will be maintained at the existing 272. According to the data of latest census, Punjab will lose nine seats in the National Assembly whilst Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will get nine more, Balochistan three and the federal capital one more seats in the lower house. The seats of Sindh and FATA will remain unchanged.
The constitutional amendment seeks to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of officially published census results. It asks to allow delimitation for the general elections 2018 on the basis of the provisional results of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017. The amendment sought in Article 51 (5) will allow re-allocating seats as per provisional census results.
The existing Article 51 (5) requires that the “seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published”.

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