Tuesday Nov 14, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to summon the National Assembly session on November 16 to vote on the new delimitation bill agreed upon by all political parties.
The agreement was reached in a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday.
Sources said lawmakers from the government and its allies have been instructed to ensure their presence in the assembly for voting.
The government has also accepted the reservations and demands by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) regarding the provisional census.
The Sindh government had demanded to be allowed to check and verify census data.
The CCI on Monday approved delimitation of new constituencies on the basis of provisional results of Population Census 2017, paving the way for a timely conduct of the next general elections.
The 33rd meeting of the CCI was attended by chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, who resolved to hold elections on time.
Prime Minister Abbasi chaired the meeting, with federal ministers for inter-provincial coordination, industries and production, and interior also in presence.
The meeting approved the usage of provisional census results for delimitation.
Briefing the media after the meeting, the premier's special aide, Musaddiq Mailk, said the political leadership resolved a major constitutional crisis through wisdom.
"The Election Commission of Pakistan will immediately start working on the delimitation of new constituencies following a constitutional amendment," he said.
According to the new delimitation, Punjab's seat share will decrease by nine, while Islamabad will get one more seat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will get five and Balochistan will be given three more, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq told the media on November 1.
Malik said suspicions regarding Karachi's population were also addressed at the meeting.
He said for examining the census process, the meeting approved an audit of 1 per cent of selected census blocks by an independent body.
The formula to check and verify census record applies to all provinces.
The council, however, also suggested against increasing seats in the representative assemblies.
Population Census 2017 had been a bone of contention between Sindh and the federal government, especially as it led to an impasse vis-à-vis the required legislation on the delimitation of new constituencies as per the latest population count — a legal requirement for the next elections.
Sindh claimed it was undercounted in the new census, whereas the federal government rejected the assertion.
Earlier, parliamentary parties also failed to agree, despite several meetings, over the new delimitation of constituencies for the National Assembly.
The PPP, which is the ruling party in Sindh, demanded in the meetings that the matter must be resolved in a CCI meeting.
However, despite the deadlock, all political parties represented in Parliament were in agreement that the next elections should not be delayed.
The Election Commission of Pakistan 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.