–Law Minister Zahid Hamid says Qadiyani, Ahmedi or Lahori group will continue to be recognised as non-Muslims
–Says anyone can challenge status of any person enrolled as Muslim in voter list, defendant will be required to sign declaration of finality of Prophethood
–Voting on delimitation bill could not take place due to lack of quorum
ISLAMABAD: The Senate unanimously passed the Elections Amendment Bill 2017 on Friday, aimed at restoring the clauses pertaining to Khatm-e-Nabuwwat to their original form and make sections relating to the Ahmedi minority community more effective.
The bill had sailed through the National Assembly on Thursday, and is expected to be signed into law by President Mamnoon Hussain soon.
Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form through the bill.
Section 7B states that the status of Ahmedis remains as stated in the Constitution, whereas Section 7C says that if enrolled voters’ belief in the Finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is contended, they shall have to sign a declaration reaffirming their belief, failing which their “name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim”.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Chairman Senate Abdul Ghafoor Haidri said that this bill has ensured that the matter of the finality of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) remains as it is in the 1973 Constitution.
Congratulating the nation on the restoration of the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause, Haidri said, “Our belief has been secured once again.”
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said Qadiyani, Ahmedi or Lahori group will continue to be recognised as non-Muslims.
He said anyone could challenge the status of any person enrolled as Muslim in the voter list before the revising authority where the defendant will be required to sign the declaration of finality of Prophethood.
Failing to sign the declaration shall declare the defendant as non-Muslim and his vote will be expunged from the list for Muslim voters and be included in the non-Muslim list, he added.
On Thursday, after tabling the bill in the National Assembly, Hamid had rebutted allegations levelled against him, saying he was a true lover of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). “My family and I are ready to sacrifice our lives for sanctity of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat,” he added.
VOTING ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL DELAYED:
The Senate was also expected to take up on Friday the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017.
However, the House failed to ensure the number of lawmakers to vote on the bill. The House of 104 needed a two-thirds majority to pass the bill whereas less than 50 lawmakers were present in the House on Friday.
The bill pertains to the fresh delimitation of constituencies in line with the provisional results of the latest census in light of the general elections next year.
According to the new delimitation, Punjab’s seat share in the National Assembly will decrease by nine seats, while Islamabad will get one more seat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa five and Balochistan three more.
NA seats for FATA and Sindh will remain unchanged.
Earlier, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had said after chairing a meeting of parliamentary parties that the total NA seats will remain 272 but there would be a change in the allocation of NA seats for the provinces.
On November 13, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved delimitation of new constituencies on the basis of provisional results of Population Census 2017, paving a way for timely conduct of next general elections.
Briefing the media after the CCI meeting, the prime minister’s special aide, Musaddiq Malik, said the political leadership resolved a major constitutional crisis through wisdom. “The election commission will immediately start working on the delimitation of new constituencies following a constitutional amendment,” he said.