ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Law and Justice endorsed some important amendments in the Delimitation of Constituencies (Amendments) Bill of 2011.
The amendments also provide the basis for extending the Political Parties Order of 2002 to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The bill was introduced by Minister for Law and Justice Maula Bux Chandio in the upper house of parliament earlier this year. Chairman Senate had referred the bill to the committee concerned for consideration after some lawmakers expressed concerns on the previous draft.
Later, the federal cabinet also approved the bill on June 15 with the approval of the president.
The strength of members of the commission will be three rather than two, according to these amendments. The commission, which works under directions of the Chief the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), addresses the complaints pertaining to delimitation of constituencies.
Senator S M Zaffar, a member of the committee told The Express Tribune that the amendments were procedural. There was no substantial change in the bill, he said. However, some of these changes were required because of the 18th Amendment, he added. “These are consequential amendments and were required,” he said.
Officials of the law ministry informed the committee members that the bill authorised the ECP to demarcate constituencies for elections to the National Assembly and provincial assemblies. During the Musharraf regime, the delimitation of constituencies came under power of non-electoral agencies rather than being under the ECP’s control. Chairman of the parliamentary panel Senator Kazim Khan passed the amendments and endorsed the recommendation of lawmakers, paving the way for approval of this bill in the Senate.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.