ISLAMABAD -  Minister of Law and Justice Zahid Hamid in Tuesday’s National Assembly session, while clearing a misperception, said that the provision about finality of Prophethood had not been removed from the Election Bill, 2017.

“God forbid, the government and no lawmaker can even think about omitting this provision,” said Hamid, while speaking on a point of order.

Elaborating government’s stance, the minister said that the clause about the belief in the finality of Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was still a part of the Constitution. He also read out the amended law and the previous act, explaining that there was no change.

“In the older Act, the nomination form required the consent of the person, his political affiliation, his belief in the finality of Prophethood, and faithful declaration to follow the vision of Quaid-i-Azam, which is followed by other questions,” the minister said.

Likewise, he said, Form “A” of the new Act also required for a person’s consent, political affiliation, belief in the finality of Prophethood, Quaid-i-Azam’s vision, followed by other questions.

“Both are same without change,” Hamid added.

He further said that only the oath taking form for the candidate had been made simple, but the provision regarding Khatm-e-Nabuwat or finality of Prophethood had not been changed at all.

Responding to the criticism on other clauses of the bill, the minister said that the opposition was not kept in dark at all.

“All parliamentary parties were consulted before the passage of the bill,” he said, mentioning that he could not explain the bill the other day [Monday] because of [the] rumpus from [the] opposition.

“I am not [a] wizard to be able to get this bill passed silently all the parties were consulted,” he said, while responding to the criticism about the law being “person-specific”.

The law minister, regarding another point said that the Election Bill 2017 had not been passed in isolation.  He also rejected the impression that the bill had been passed to benefit a specific person.

Taking part in a discussion, Minister for Postal Services Maulana Ameer Zaman said that no amendment was introduced in the “Election Bill, 2017” about “Khatm-e-Nabuwat”.

“We have strong faith in ‘Khatm-e-Nabuwat’, nothing is more important than it. We can leave everything for it,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that all the lawmakers were on the same page on the matter.

“If there would be any complications they would be resolved,” he said, adding that there would be no compromise on the issue. The PTI’s deputy parliamentary leader, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said that this sensitive matter needed to be handled carefully.

The PTI’s Ali Muhammad said that the misconception of “declaration” and “oath” in it needed to be resolved.

The Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader, MNA Tariq Ullah, said that the misconception about nomination paper should be resolved.

ANP’s Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that the parliamentarians need to jointly resolve the matter.

Naeema Kishwar from JUI-F said that all the lawmakers were on the same page on the matter of “Khatm-e-Nabuwat”.

“If there is any clerical mistake it needs to be fixed forthwith,” she said.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also introduced a “The general statistic [reorganisation] (amendment) bill, 2017”, aimed to bring changes in modus operandi of population census.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says, “[the] national census is an important activity under the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as the national planning and distribution of resources as well as distribution and delimitation of electoral constituencies take place on the basis of [the] census and housing data collected or taken through the national census or any other census held periodically.”

It says, “It is necessary that population and housing conditions should be transparent that nothing like suspicion can be raised by any social, religious or ethnic community about the population and housing census in future as such state of distrust shall be dangerous to national unity, solidarity, integrity and harmony.”

A minority lawmaker Tariq Qaiser introduced “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017” aimed to bring changes for minorities.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill, says “for election on reserved seats for non-Muslims, delimitation of constituencies may be made on population basis by the election commission. The number of constituencies shall be on the basis of non-Muslim population, so as to make a total of constituencies for the National Assembly.”

“Using the same mechanism four constituencies shall be formed in Balochistan, four in KP, 12 in the Punjab, and 13 in Sindh for provincial assemblies.

“Minorities representation in the national and provincial assemblies may be increased according to the proportion of the non-Muslims,” it says.

MQM’s Saman Sultana Jaffery, on point of order, demanded reply from the government about a report alleging links of 37 parliamentarians with defunct sectarian and militant organisations.

Independent MNA Jamshed Dasti, on point of order, threatened the government of taking a stern action, if a proper inquiry about the attack on him and the AML chief, Sheikh Rashid, was not conducted.

“A group of people attacked us [Sheikh Rashid and Jamshed Dasti] in the premises of the parliament. The prime minister and the interior minister need to take action on the matter,” he said.