Due to expected low attendance in the upper house, the Senate Wednesday decided to postpone the voting on the bill for delimitation of constituencies until Monday.
In order for the ‘Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017’ to get approved, at least 69 votes are needed. 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.
However, the upper house on Friday, managed to pass the Elections Amendment Bill, 2017, related to Khatam-e-Nabuwat clauses for voters, after the National Assembly (NA) did the same on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in order to secure Pakistan People’s Party’s support for the vote in Senate, contacted Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah.
Khursheed told a private news channel that he informed PM Abbasi that he can convey his message to the party leadership, and requested that the premier give him the request in writing so that the party can have a consultation over it.
Voting on the bill was adjourned this Monday, as only 22 members were present in the house, whereas the bill required the presence of 69 members for its passage.
The lawmakers had failed to pass the bill on Friday as well, even though they had voted for the Elections Amendment Bill, 2017 the same day.
It is crucial to note that, according to the new delimitation of constituencies, Punjab’s seat’s share in the National Assembly will decrease by nine seats, while Islamabad will get one more seat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa five and Balochistan three more.
However, NA seats for FATA and Sindh will remain unchanged.
Earlier, after chairing a meeting of parliamentary parties, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had said that the total NA seats will remain 272, but there would be a change in the allocation of NA seats for the provinces.
Moreover, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani held a meeting with Zafarul Haq and Opposition leader in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan.
Rabbani said that elections must be held on time, requesting both the leaders to play their role in making it possible. The bill is meant to pave the way for the timely conduct of the 2018 general elections, he said.
Ahsan, on the other hand, said, “Only a few days have gone by, not months,” adding that soon the bill will be passed.
Following his meeting with the chairman, Ahsan told media that negotiations for the approval of the bill are still ongoing.
“A final decision is yet to be reached on the matter,” he added.
“The PPP should be asked why it has opposed the bill,” Senator Haq, also speaking to the media, said.
“Negotiations with the PPP are ongoing,” he said, adding that he was not aware what conditions the party has set.
During the session, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Senator Hafiz Hamdullah protested against not being given the opportunity to speak and tore a copy of the agenda before walking out of the Senate.
On November 13, the Council of Common Interests 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.