Islamabad (November 8, 2017): The constitutional amendment to freshly delimit constituencies based on the recently-held census still hanged in balance after parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly failed to arrive at an agreement on Wednesday.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made it clear that it will go to the Supreme Court for directions [if the parliament fails to decide on something]; but we hope that since this is in parliament’s domain, it should be the one to do it,” NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said while speaking to the media after his meeting with parliamentary leaders ended.
Answering a question from a reporter, the speaker said he was hopeful that elections would be held on time. He dismissed Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah suggestion that the election be held based on the previous census, since, he said, the law and the constitution did not allow for it.He also denied reports of a heated argument between Sheikh Rasheed and Mahmood Khan Achakzai and said that everyone had presented their point of view in a cordial environment.
Sadiq also said that though a consensus had not been reached regarding the amendment, there was an agreement over holding elections in a timely manner.
Law Minister Zaid Hamid also stressed the importance of having the constitutional amendment passed; as, he said, the government could approve the provisional census results using a simple majority vote but a constitutional amendment — which requires a two-third vote to be initiated — is required for delimitation of constituencies to happen.
Speaking to journalists earlier, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed had said that the government does not have the numbers for a constitutional amendment. “The meeting of parliamentary leaders has failed,” he said.Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi concurred with Rasheed, adding that he did not foresee the PPP’s reservations being allayed
The PTI leader Shah Mehmood Quereshi seemed pessimistic over the meeting and said the differences still persisting over the constitutional amendment as the reservation by the PPP yet not removed.