|Senate passes delimitation bill|
Friday, 17 November 2017
Senate passes delimitation bill
The Senate on Friday passed the 24th Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, paving the way for timely elections.
The bill will allow the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to use the provisional census data to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies ahead of the next general elections.
Although the number of seats in the National Assembly will remain 272, fresh delimitation would affect Punjab which will lose up to nine seats in the lower house. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will get five new seats, Balochistan three and Islamabad Capital Territory one additional seat.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) will retain its 12 seats in the assembly.
The issue of conducting fresh delimitation of constituencies had been stuck in deadlock for several days till the CCI had on Monday finally agreed to hold the elections on the basis of the provisional census results on the condition that a third-party audit of one per cent of the population blocks would be conducted within three months.
It was on PPP’s demand that the government had convened the CCI meeting realizing that the ruling party does not have the required two-thirds majority in the 104-member Senate to get the bill passed.
Elections Amendment Bill 2017 also passed in the Senate:
The Senate, under the chairmanship of Mian Raza Rabbani, also unanimously passed the Elections Amendment Bill 2017, aimed at restoring the clauses pertaining to Khatm-i-Nabuwwat to their original form and make sections relating to the Ahmadi community more effective.
Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form through the bill.
Section 7B states that the status of Ahmadis remains as stated in the Constitution, whereas Section 7C says that if enrolled voters’ belief in the finality of prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is contended, they shall have to sign a declaration reaffirming their belief, failing which their “name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim.”
Speaking on the occasion Deputy Chairman Senate Abdul Ghafoor Haidri said that this bill has ensured that the matter of the finality of prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) remains as it is in the 1973 Constitution.
Congratulating the nation on the restoration of the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat clause, Haidri said, "Our belief has been secured once again."
Both bills was presented in the Senate by Minister for Law Zahid Hamid.