General

Parliamentary leaders agree to present delimitation bill in Senate on Dec 19

The bill regarding the fresh delimitation of constituencies will be tabled in the Senate on December 19, parliamentary party leaders agreed during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday.
According to sources, the grievances of parliamentary leaders regarding the delimitation bill were addressed in the meeting.
A bi-partisan committee regarding delimitation and FATA reforms has also been formed and will comprise Senators Mushahidullah Khan, Hasil Bizenjo, Taj Haider and Mushahid Hussain.
Speaking to the media, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said it has been decided that in line with the opposition’s objections on the census, the government will randomly select five per cent of census blocks for a re-audit within 30 days. “Our mechanism of a re-audit has been accepted by the government and the PM himself has assured to monitor and take responsibility for it,” he added.
Talking about the FATA reforms issue, Ahsan said a four-member committee to monitor the issue has been formed and the prime minister has assured to personally look into the matter.
Regarding the reservations of opposition parties, Mushahidullah, who hails from the ruling party, said: “In the parliamentary form of system, reservations of parties are routine matters. These are resolved through dialogue. The prime minister intervened in this matter and settled the nitty-gritty of the issue. The bill will be presented in the Senate on December 19 and passed.”
He added that if the bill is passed on December 19, elections would be held on time.
The meeting was held to discuss concerns about the delimitation bill and delays in the introduction of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill.
The prime minister was also expected to take the leaders into confidence on matters related to the recently held Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on Jerusalem.
Leaders from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Awami Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami were in attendance. Representatives from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, however, were missing from the huddle.
The Senate has repeatedly failed to pass the delimitation bill as the deadlock over the recent provisional census results continues between the PPP and PML-N.
The bill will pave the way for the reorganisation of National Assembly seats in line with the latest population count and thus pave the way for timely elections next year.
FATA reforms
The matter of FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has been delayed since the recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2.
On Thursday, members of opposition parties staged a walkout from the National Assembly in a bid to press the government to introduce the FATA Reforms Bill.
Addressing the house yesterday, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had said the government wanted to sideline the FATA reforms and the area’s merger with KP.
He had stated that the people of tribal areas wanted their rights.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Naveed Qamar had said the government was being blackmailed to not present the bill in Parliament.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami League chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, whose party along with another government ally JUI-F has been opposing FATA’s merger with KP, had said the Frontier Crimes Regulation in the tribal areas should be abolished first.
He had also called for the formation of a committee with all stakeholders to debate over the matter and demanded a separate governor for FATA.