This Tuesday the Senate passed the crucial delimitation bill with 84 legislators voting in favour of the motion. In light of the 24th Constitutional Amendment, new delimitation of constituencies will now be devised on the basis of provisional census results. Now that the bill is approved, census results can be utilised effectively. If you analyse the situation in light of the constitution, after conducting a census in the country; if the new elections are not based on new delimitations then they are considered unconstitutional and illegal. This would have made the entire effort of the conducting the census, go to waste.
The news dynamics, as pointed out by the provisional census result, show an increase in National Assembly (NA) seats for Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). There will be a decrease in the seats of Punjab because the population has decreased from 56 percent to 52 percent. The seats of Sindh, however, will remain the same.
The government should definitely be commended on finally being able to get legislators to come to the parliament and vote out the matter. The last three attempts to do so had clearly failed with only less than half of the Senators showing up to vote.
However, a greater challenge lies ahead for the government. The process of getting the bill passed had already been delayed, but from here onwards the government can longer afford further delays – the election is on a strict deadline. Furthermore the actual process of drawing up new constituencies must be transparent, above the board, and controversy free. This will allow the electoral process to go on smoothly and create minimum room for agitation and protest come the election.