Political leaders show maturity

THE parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly, in their meeting on Tuesday, demonstrated ample maturity by agreeing on the issue of delimitation of constituencies putting all rumours about rift at rest. After a comparatively briefing consultative session under the chairmanship of Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, they unanimously decided to go for delimitation process but agreed not to increase National Assembly seats, which would remain at the existing level of 272.
The decision is reflective of the fact that our parliamentary and political leaders can still forge consensus on core issues despite utter polarisation caused by self-centred approaches of different political parties, a trend not entirely un-understandable in view of the fact that we are in the election year and every party has to improve its prospects for performance in the electoral exercise. The decision was motivated by the fact that there was no time for delaying the matter further as it may jeopardise holding of general election on time. The decision is also indicative of the fact that Punjab, which remains victim of negative propaganda by vested interests, showed the magnanimity and readily agreed to part with at least nine seats of the National Assembly, of which five would go to KP, three to Balochistan and one to Federal Capital. This was, perhaps, the reason that the politicians/parliamentary leaders belonging to smaller provinces did not object to delimitation of constituencies on the basis of latest Population Census. We believe that sacrificing nine seats for the sake of national unity, harmony and cohesion is small price as the decision would help address some of the grievances and heart-burning of smaller units of the federation. Punjab has also shown similar spirit during distribution of resources from the federal divisible pool as well as apportionment of water where it repeatedly ceded its rights for smaller provinces and all should appreciate this. Otherwise too, we believe, Pakistan is a poor country and its Cabinets, federal and provincial assemblies should have minimum strength so that there is no unnecessary burden on national kitty. The real issue is not increase in strength of the assemblies but maintaining equilibrium as per growth of the population. We hope that both the National Assembly and the Senate would adopt proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill at desired speed so that the Election Commission could initiate the process of delimitation and revision of electoral rolls at the earliest.

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