ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice Tuesday sought verified figures of census from Statistics Division in order to move further on two bills seeking an increase in minorities seats in the lower house.
The committee discussed the constitutional amendment bills moved by Naveed Aamir Jeeva and Ramesh Kumar Vankwani for the increase in seats of minorities.
Committee Chairman Riaz Fatyana directed that Election Commission of Pakistan and National Database and Registration Authority to give their input in the next meeting on the issue of correct population figures.
The committee members decided that political parties would be taken on board and their opinion would be sought on reserved seats.
Some members suggested that seats of minorities should be enhanced according to the increase made in the general seats.
MNA Aaliya Kamran was of the view that reserved seats should be abolished and all members should come in the Assembly through direct election.
MNA Saad Rafiq said it should also be ensured that elections in future would be held without interference.
The chair endorsed his standpoint and added that elections should be held in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Riaz Fatyana observed that according to a report, democracy was prevalent in 85 percent countries of the world while Pakistan was considered among those 10 percent of countries which were semi-democratic besides the five percent which were ruled by monarchs.
At one point, the chair ruled that as per rules of procedure of the National Assembly and article 19A of the Constitution, the committee could ask for any document from the ministries and departments.
Riaz said the committee would work on amendments to turn National Assembly into a representative body instead of mere legislature by allocating seats for deprived sections of society and trade and professional bodies.
The chairman clubbed the two bills of the minority members and said further discussion would be undertaken to reach a decision on the bills.
MNA Agha Hassan Baloch suggested that factors of area and backwardness should also be taken into consideration while deciding about representation in the Assembly, adding Balochistan was a large province and one of its Chaghi Kharan constituency was 750 kilometres long which made it difficult to reach out to constituents.
The members belonging to the minorities expressed concern over the delay in passage of bills and said the matter should be settled without further wasting of time.