ISLAMABAD - Lawmakers yesterday proposed that the term of National Assembly should be curtailed from five to four years amid criticism from some legislators who said the electoral reforms should be the first priority.

The sub-committee of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms constituted to introduce drastic election reforms in the country touched upon subjects that invited some members to express concerns over the breach of the mandate given to the panel.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, PML-N MNA Zahid Hamid, who is convener of the committee, said that the proposal to curtail the term of the lower house lacked consensus among lawmakers thus it was referred to the main Electoral Reforms Committee headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

He said the proposal for increase in the number of national assembly seats was also deferred till the next population census so that a decision could be taken on the basis of fresh statistics adding that some decisions could not be agreed upon in the absence of population census.

Sources privy to the meeting said that some members could not reach consensus on the proposal for direct elections to Senate and the procedure for election on reserved seats for women including election of FATA Senators.

Being an in-camera meeting, reporters cannot watch proceedings of the committee. He said the committee recommended that it would be mandatory to hold election within 120 days after expiry of term of local governments.

The committee also agreed on an amendment in the constitution to ensure that conduct of local government elections in Islamabad and cantonments is made mandatory. Majority of the members agreed in this regard.

The sources said that PPP lawmakers demanded restoration of qualification and disqualification clauses (Articles 62 and 63) of the constitution in their original form.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) proposed that Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs) should be made part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

PTI MNA Arif Alvi said that PPP and PML-N were reluctant to merge FATA with KP despite the fact that the proposal was part of their Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto during their exile period.

However, MNA Naeema Kishwar Khan of JUI-F told the members that the committee was discussing the subjects that were beyond its jurisdiction saying the cross party parliamentary panel should focus on election reforms.

The committee also discussed the proposal of giving voting rights to expatriates. Again, the sources said, consensus could not be developed as the practice would need resources.