ISLAMABAD: If the legislature concerning the census-related is not approved in time, there is a possibility that the 2018 general elections face a delay. The constitution does not include any laws that state how to deal with such a situation- whether the tenure of the present parliament should be extended or that of the caretaker government reported The News.
As per reports, if the delimitation bill that is pending before the parliament is not approved in time, the next scheduled elections are expected to be postponed.
In such circumstances, the Supreme Court will make a decision about the extension of the tenure of the ruling government and parliament or that of the caretaker government which will otherwise take over once the tenure of the present government is completed.
As per reports, a census has never been held close to the general elections, hence the Constitution does not define how to deal with a situation wherein elections are delayed as a result of re-allocation of NA seats to the provinces on the basis of the most recent census results.
Although the NA has approved the constitutional amendment, it remains pending in the Senate owing to lack of required number (two-thirds majority) of members.
On 29th August, the ECP had drawn the attention of the Law Ministry towards the constitutional issues that had arisen as a result of the 2017 census in connection with holding the 2018 general elections as per the schedule.
Although the bill had been approved in the NA, however, the opposition parties, do not appear interested in having the bill approved by the Senate promptly.
In compliance with Article 51(5) of the Constitution, the seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each province, the FATA and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in line with the last officially declared census results.
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.