ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said that the government would try to pass the bill on delimitation of constituencies before the general elections in the Senate with the possible help of the Pakistan People’s Party.

Chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet here, Abbasi – quoted by a participant of the meeting – said the government was in contact with the other parties on the proposed bill.

The participant of the meeting, a federal minister, told The Nation that the cabinet members supported Abbasi’s bid to hold meeting with Pakistan People’s Party leadership.

PM Abbasi has asked opposition leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah to arrange his meeting with Asif Ali Zardari or Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to seek PPP’s support for the bill on the delimitations in the Senate.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) does not enjoy a majority in the Senate – leaving it at the mercy of the PPP-led opposition bloc to pass the Bill. Zardari has not yet rejected the request and promised to consult the party before a final decision.

The minister said PM Abbasi was hopeful that the PPP will support the bill in the Senate as an issue of national interest. However, the PML-N and the PPP were involved in a war of words as Zardari refused to ‘shake hands’ with Nawaz Sharif.

The minister said Abbasi was confident to get the required support in the Senate as the government was also in contact with other smaller parties. The cabinet, he said, also discussed the persistent sit-in in Islamabad by the religious groups. “The meeting agreed that the issue should be resolved peacefully but the defiance of the protesters was criticised,” he added.

He said the overall political situation of the country came under discussion and it was agreed that the government will not confront with other state institutions.

An official statement said the cabinet approved appointment of Murtaza Khan (Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service BS-20) as Financial Advisor in Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board.

The cabinet accorded approval for Signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Political Consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and Pakistan.

The cabinet approved signing the MoU on Bilateral Consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and the Slovak Republic.

Approvals were accorded for MoU between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the National School of Public Policy and MoU between Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration and the National School of Public Policy Pakistan.

The federal cabinet approved appointment of Rehmatullah as Member National Electric Power Regulatory Authority from Balochistan.  Ex-Post Facto approval was accorded for the Acceptance of Awards “King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence” and “Honorary Award of Malaysian Armed Forces Order of Valour-gallant Commander of Malaysian Armed Forces, First Degree” Medal by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia respectively to Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah (retd), former Chief of the Naval Staff.

Appointment of Nasim A. Virk as Judge Special Court (Central), Faisalabad was approved. The cabinet accorded approval for appointment of Nasir Hussain, District and Sessions Judge as Judge Banking Court, Bahawalpur and Naveed Ahmad, District and Sessions Judge as Judge Banking Court-II, Gujranwala.

Ex-Post Facto approval was accorded for the Acceptance of “Star of Merit” to Zamir Akram, Former Ambassador of Pakistan by Palestine. Constitution of Board of Directors of National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority was also approved by the cabinet.

The cabinet approved the proposal moved by National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Division to implement Inter-Ministerial Committee Recommendations regarding enhancement of pictorial health warning on Cigarette Packets.

The meeting appreciated the services of Nadeem Hassan Asif, former Secretary Cabinet Division who recently retired after rendering meritorious services at the Cabinet Division and other important assignments in the civil service.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Abbasi met Minister of State for States and Frontiers Ghalib Khan and member national Assembly Haji Shah Gull Afridi and discussed Federally Administrated Tribal Areas’ reforms and issues related to development in the belt.

“During the meeting here at the PM’s Office, the minister of state and the MNA invited the premier to visit the area,” an official statement said.