As a result of intervention by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi, who has repeatedly been categorical in his assertions that the next elections will be held on time, the stalemate between the ruling and the opposition parties on constitutional amendment for delimitation of constituencies finally ended on Friday as the Prime Minister and the parliamentary leaders sat together and agreed to get the amendment passed from the house.
The meeting held at the PM chamber in the parliament house agreed to present the constitutional amendment for delimitation of constituencies before the Senate on Tuesday next. The constitutional amendment, which envisages more seats for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and federal capital territory has already been passed by the National Assembly but due to certain reservations of the PPP, it could not get the nod from the upper house where the opposition enjoys majority.
According to sources, the grievances of parliamentary leaders regarding the delimitation bill were addressed in the meeting.
A bi-partisan committee regarding delimitation and FATA reforms has also been formed and will comprise Senators Mushahidullah Khan, Hasil Bizenjo, Taj Haider and Mushahid Hussain.
Speaking to the media, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said it has been decided that in line with the opposition’s objections on the census, the government will randomly select five per cent of census blocks for a reaudit within 30 days. “Our mechanism of a reaudit has been accepted by the government and the PM himself has assured to monitor and take responsibility for it,” he added.
Talking about the FATA reforms issue, Ahsan said a four-member committee to monitor the issue has been formed and the prime minister has assured to personally look into the matter.
Regarding the reservations of opposition parties, Mushahidullah of PML (N) said: “In the parliamentary form of system, reservations of parties are routine matters. These are resolved through dialogue. The prime minister intervened in this matter and settled the nitty-gritty of the issue. The bill will be presented in the Senate on December 19 and passed.”
He added that if the bill is passed on December 19, elections would be held on time.
The meeting was held to discuss concerns about the delimitation bill and delays in the introduction of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill.
Leaders from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Awami Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami were in attendance. Representatives from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, however, were missing from the huddle.
The bill will pave the way for the reorganisation of National Assembly seats in line with the latest population count and thus pave the way for timely elections next year.