No headway in proposed amendment to census as MQM-P, PPP dig in heels | Pakistan Today

No headway in proposed amendment to census as MQM-P, PPP dig in heels

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee meeting regarding a proposed amendment to the population census ended inconclusively on Tuesday as the reservations of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) over the provisional results could not be addressed.

Expressing concerns of his party over the briefings on the provisional census results by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), MQM-P parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar said that his party did not accept the census results.

“If we have reservations over the census, how can we accept its provisional results?” he asked.

However, Sattar told reporters that he had proposed delimitation on the basis of the number of voters instead of the population figures.

While speaking to the media, PPP’s Naveed Qamar said that his party still stood by its demand to get the Constitutional Amendment Bill approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) before bringing it to the assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who was heading the meeting, said, “All political parties have agreed that elections should not be delayed.”

He said that the parliamentary leaders would now discuss the matter with their party heads and meet again on Wednesday at 11am after receiving directions from their leaders.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that the government was reluctant to bring the fresh delimitation bill before the CCI.

“The approval of the CCI for new delimitation of constituencies is a constitutional requirement, but I don’t know why the government fears bringing up the issue there,” Shah told reporters.

Commenting on a committee formed by deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to woo political parties, the PPP leader, in a lighter mood, said perhaps it was “too little, too late now”.

Shah also lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for shelving Tuesday’s National Assembly session to “dodge” the electoral reforms bill.

“The session was scheduled to last till Tuesday and shelving it at the last minute was a big joke,” he said.

Earlier, Law Minister Zahid Hamid introduced the Constitutional Amendment Bill in the National Assembly on Nov 2 after an “agreement” among all parties during a two-day meeting of parliamentary leaders of all parties with Speaker Sadiq.

But soon after the introduction of the bill, PPP’s parliamentary leader Syed Naveed Qamar declared the move “unconstitutional”, alleging that the government had played a trick on them by telling them that the bill was being moved in the light of the CCI’s decision although that was not the case.

The PML-N on Monday formed a five-member committee tasked with meeting leaders from all the political parties to remove their concerns over the census issue in order to ensure timely elections, which are due in August next year.

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