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Punjab to cede 9 seats to KP & Balochistan in next general elections

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has said Punjab will lose 9 national assembly seats in the next general elections. Saqiq, 63, said this while talking to reporters after a meeting of the Parliamentary Parties where it was decided that the national seats will be capped at 272.

“The number of seats for Punjab will decrease, KP and Balochistan will see an increase, while an additional seat will be allocated to Islamabad,” Sadiq who is an elected MNA from NA-119 Lahore said.

Read more: Will FATA finally merge in KPK?

272 seats in the National Assembly are up for grabs in the general elections out of which Punjab is allocated 148 seats. Sadiq said that after the passage of the Constitutional Amendment Bill, Punjab will lose 7 general seats, which will be distributed between KP, Balochistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory in the ratio of 4:2:1 respectively.

Experts believe that FATA has to be brought into the mainstream and it is high-time to undertake political and social reforms to improve the lives of those afflicted by constant war and conflict.

The National Assembly also comprises 60 reserved seats for women and 10 for non-muslims. Punjab’s allocation of 35 reserved seats will be cut by 2 with KP and Balochistan getting one apiece. The meeting was called after the Election Commission of Pakistan had given a seven-day deadline to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry to get the constitution amended in order to give legal cover to fresh delimitation before the final results of population census last week.

According to the Constitution, the ECP can rearrange the constituencies only if and when the census data is officially notified. The new election laws stipulate that the ECP has to finalize the polling scheme and delimitations at least six months before the general election.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said that it would not be possible to conduct polls on the old constituencies, adding that if the government can complete legal formalities by 10th of this month, the ECP will make it work. Sadiq said: “We are trying to get it done by Friday, and will then present it (bill) in the Senate.All agree that the seats should not be increased.”

FATA and Sindh will not get any additional seats; the former will continue to have 12 and Sindh will have 61 general seats.

The Law Minister, Zahid Hamid debriefed the participants of the meeting, seeking their recommendations on the matter. The participants included opposition leader Khurshid Shah and Naveed Qamar of the PPP, Ghous Bakhsh Mehar of the PML-F, ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Mehmood Khan Achakzai of PKMAP, MQM-P head Dr. Farooq Sattar, NADRA chairman, ECP secretary and officials of the Statistics Division, among others.

Read more: Questioning the merger of FATA with KPK

FATA and Sindh will not get any additional seats; the former will continue to have 12 and Sindh will have 61 general seats. FATA, an area which is not only war-torn but its demands for more political reforms and representation.

272 seats in the National Assembly are up for grabs in the general elections out of which Punjab is allocated 148 seats.

Plans to merge FATA into KP have not materialized. Watchers suggest that FATA must be given more representation as there is a need to rid it from the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). Dithering and unnecessary dilation over FATA reforms are much against the military successes achieved in the area. Military gains, if not backed up by political efforts will fail to produce the desired results in the long run. Experts believe that FATA has to be brought into the mainstream and it is high-time to undertake political and social reforms to improve the lives of those afflicted by constant war and conflict.