Delimitation bill to ‘clear’ Senate on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD –  Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s intervention helped parliamentary parties in the Upper House to come on the same page regarding legislation on the delimitation of constituencies under provisional census results.

The legislation would likely clear the Senate on December 19 (Tuesday).

Prime Minister Abbasi had convened a meeting of heads of parliamentary parties where reservations of various political parties about holding the next elections on the basis of fresh delimitation on provincial census results were fully addressed and the main demand of audit of five percent blocks on a random basis by an independent entity 30 days time was also accepted.

Sources aware of the deliberations held in the chamber of the prime minister said that Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bezinjo and Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed played a key role in bringing the stakeholders on the same page.

It was agreed in the meeting that a supervisory body comprising leaders from various parties would be formed to oversee the whole process and monitor the audit of five percent blocks on a random basis. The committee included Mushahid Hussain, Hasil Bezinjo, Taj Haider and Mushahid Ullah Khan.

The parliamentary parties’ leaders huddle also discussed the FATA Reforms Bill and it was decided that the same would also be adopted through consensus and in this connection, genuine reservations of the parties opposed to the merger of FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be addressed as the government wanted to do these legislations with consensus.

The sources said that during the meeting, Senator Mushahid Hussain made a candid speech asking the participants to fulfill their responsibility toward the important piece of legislation.

He said, according to the sources, that ‘we need to come out of despondency and have to play our role to establish the efficacy of the Parliament and should not provide ground to some external elements to meddle in the parliamentary affairs.’

He further said that when the prime minister has given assurance to address all the concerns of the parties and an oversight committee would also be formed, then there was no reason to back out from supporting this important piece of legislation.

Bezinjo said that it was a matter of concern for him that a foreigner came from Canada and said that he was having the backing and support of two mainstream political parties and he would seize democracy to work.

He cautioned the political forces to be aware of such elements and forge unity to stand by the system as the future of the political parties and the democratic order was linked to the continuity of the system.

It was decided at the meeting that the audit of five percent census blocks would be done on by a committee comprising technical people in 30 days time while a parliamentary panel would perform the supervisory role.

It was further agreed that the whole exercise would be exempted from PPRA rules.

Those who attended the meeting included Leader of Opposition in Senate Chaudhary Aitzaz Ahsan, Taj Haider, Leader of House Raja Zafarul Haq, Mir Hasil Khan Bezinjo, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Col (retd) Tahir Mashadi, Mushahid Hussain Syed and others.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Aitzaz Ahsan said that Senator Taj Haider from his party briefed the members on the party’s reservations on the census and it was decided that the audit of five percent census blocks would be done on a random basis and committee comprising professionals would conduct the whole exercise.

Senator Mushahid Hussain said that reservations of the parties were addressed and now all the political parties in the Upper House would vote for the legislation on the delimitation of constituencies.

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