Senate unlikely to pass delimitation bill today

Nausheen Yusuf

ISLAMABAD: The Senate business advisory committee held a meeting on Monday under Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani today to oversee the agenda items of the Upper House of Parliament. 

During the meeting, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) failed to agree on introducing the delimitation bill for voting as the PPP insists that the recently conducted said be audited by foreign experts so its reservations are removed. 

Earlier, it was reported that the Senate may finally pass the bill for the fresh delimitation of constituencies today following ‘backdoor contacts’ between the PPP and PML-N.

The controversial constitutional amendment

The Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017, pertains to the fresh delimitation of constituencies in line with the provisional results of the latest census in light of the general elections next year.

The bill has already been adopted by the National Assembly, but the government has so far failed to get it approved by the Senate despite repeated attempts.

On November 27, voting on the bill was postponed for the fourth time as the required number of lawmakers were not present in the house. The house of 104 needed a two-thirds majority to pass the bill whereas less than 50 lawmakers were present.

However, backdoor contacts between the PPP — which has a majority in the Senate — and the ruling PML-N have resulted in a conditional nod by the PPP, sources said on Sunday.

Sources added that the government has agreed to the PPP's demand that it would hold only one election based on the new delimitation.

According to the new delimitation of constituencies, Punjab's seat share in the National Assembly will decrease by nine seats, while Islamabad will get one more seat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa five and Balochistan three more.

NA seats for FATA and Sindh will remain unchanged.