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PPP-MQM resisted reallocation of NA seats

03 November, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The passage of a proposed constitutional amendment regarding reallocation of National Assembly seats among provinces was delayed on Thursday amid resistance from the Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Earlier on Wednesday, a special parliamentary committee had unanimously approved the draft bill in this regard and decided to introduce it in the National Assembly on Thursday.

However, when the bill was introduced by Law Minister Zahid Hamid in the lower house of the Parliament on Thursday, the PPPP and MQM raised objections over the legislation.

Syed Naveed Qamar of PPPP recommended that first the approval of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) should be sought before making any amendment into the constitution as the matter had not been discussed at the CCI earlier.

“We will oppose the bill if it is not sent to the CCI,” he said. Delimitation of constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies is mandatory under the fresh census. The government has decided that it will keep the present 272 seats intact in the National Assembly. A constitutional amendment is required with a two-third majority for delimitation of constituencies.

MQM parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar also objected to the amendment. “We are going in public against the results of census. Our case is already pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan as we have serious objections over the findings of recent census,” he said.

“If we will vote to pass this amendment, it will affect our stance on the results of census in Karachi,” he said. “The delimitation of constituencies should be made on the basis of voters registered in a specific constituency, not on the basis of the population there,” he said.

Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf stated that her party wanted next general elections to be held on time. “In principle, we are in favour of the amendment. However, the concerns of other opposition parties should also be addressed. If the government bulldozes opposition, the amendment will be challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” she said.

While criticising the opposition, Mahmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said: “I just want to put the record straight. There was complete consensus on the issue during yesterday’s meeting, where leaders of all parliamentary parties were present,” he said.

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