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Tuesday Nov 07 2017

Deadlock over delimitation bill continues as parliamentary parties' meeting ends

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ayaz Sadiq chaired on Tuesday a session of parliamentary parties over the issue of delimitation of constituencies but failed to reach a conclusion on the matter. 

Sources said that representatives of almost all political parties in the Parliament were in attendance to chalk out a strategy over the issue of delimitation of constituencies in line with the latest census ahead of next year's general elections. 

Sadiq was quoted saying that all parties agree that there should be no delay in the next polls. 

Officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Statistics Division briefed the elected lawmakers. 

Sources said the PPP continues to demand that the matter be decided in the Council of Common Interests whereas the government still states that there is no need for this venture. 

Later, the session was concluded with plans to reconvene tomorrow, with Sadiq saying the parties' representatives will consult their leadership on the issue and then revert.

Last week, the parties had agreed on keeping the total number of NA seats the same and changing the quota of the provinces in light with the provisional census results. 

However, when the time came to pass the appropriate legislation in the NA, the main opposition parties, PPP, PTI and MQM, backed out.

Moreover, the government lawmakers also seemed uninterested as many did not attend the NA proceedings on Thursday and Friday. The government on Monday (Nov 6) prorogued the NA session — a decision which NA Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah criticised in a media talk today. 

The ECP has said it needs Parliament to pass necessary legislation in line with the latest census if next year's elections are to be held on time. 

At present, the PPP says it wants to see elections held on time whereas the PTI has called for early elections.