ISLAMABAD: Second round of talks between the government and the opposition parties to hammer out consensus on a constitutional amendment bill for fresh delimitation of constituencies ahead of coming general elections ended inconclusively on Wednesday.
The government once again failed to convince the major opposition parties to back out of their demand to seek approval of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) prior to introducing the required amendment in the Constitution.
Speaking to media after the meeting of parliamentary leaders of political parties in the National Assembly here today, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said all parties are in agreement that next polls should be held on time next year.
He said the government wanted to evolve consensus on the matter, but the participants of the meeting couldn’t reach any agreement over the legislation for delimitation of constituencies.
The Speaker said the PPP wanted to take the matter to the CCI and maintained that its approval for the required amendment was not necessary.
A day earlier, a meeting of parliamentary leaders had also ended inconclusively as the deadlock persisted between the government and major opposition parties on the bill for delimitation of constituencies.
The opposition parties insist on seeking approval of the CCI prior to tabling the proposed amendment bill in the National Assembly. The government on the other hand says the CCI approval was not necessary to amend the Constitution.
The opposition parties, especially Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), have decided to oppose the constitutional amendment bill for delimitation of constituencies until their concerns with regard to census figures are not addressed.
Later, the PTI too joined them, saying it will not support the bill until the opposition parties’ concerns are not addressed.
Last week, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had chaired two meetings of parliamentary leaders parties, wherein they had decided to retain the same strength of 272 members in the National Assembly, with a little change in allocation of seats to provinces on the basis of provisional results of the population census.
The Punjab will lose seven general and two reserved seats according to the fresh census figures. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will get five more seats in the National Assembly (four general and one reserved seat), while Balochistan will get three more parliament seats (two general and one reserved seat). Whereas, the federal territory of Islamabad will get one more general seat.
However, the number of seats allocated to Sindh and Fata will remain unchanged.