ISLAMABAD: The government and the opposition parties on Friday agreed to table the bill regarding the fresh delimitation of constituencies in the Senate on December 19.
The agreement was reached in a specially convened meeting of the parliamentary parties chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday.
In a meeting attended by PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Taj Haider, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Ilyas Bilour and others, PM Abbasi conceded to the demand.
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.
The PPP was of the view that if the “faulty” methodology used in the census were to be repeated in the post-enumeration survey (PES) of the selected blocks by the same organisation which had carried out the census, the results would once again become controversial.
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.
“All political parties want elections to be held on time,” Ahsan said.
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.
Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said that a similar meeting will also be held on the issue of FATA reforms.
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 People’s 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.