Bill to increase seats of tribal districts presented in NA

PESHAWAR: A bill was tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday which envisages increase in the seats of tribal districts in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

When the proceedings of the National Assembly chaired by Speaker Asad Qaiser started, minister of state Ali Muhammad Khan presented the constitutional amendment bill. He said this bill is being tabled in the House with the joint efforts of the government and opposition members. After that MNA from Waziristan Mohsin Dawar presented the bill for increase of seats of tribal districts which got the nod of majority of the members through voice vote. The bill would be later tabled in the House for second and third reading and two-third majority will be required to pass this constitutional amendment bill.

If approved, the number of tribal districts’ seats in KP Assembly will increase from 16 to 20 and in the National Assembly seats will increase from six to nine.

Earlier, Riaz Fatyana, Chairman Standing Committee on Law and Justice, presented report of the committee on the bill. The report proposes an increase of tribal districts’ seats in KP Assembly from 16 to 20 and in the National Assembly from six to nine.

Two days ago, the committee in its meeting approved increase in the national and provincial assembly seats of the merged districts.

Nine members of the committee voted in favour of the amended bill, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML N) members opposed it.

The ECP secretary said currently elections are scheduled for 16 provincial seats in the tribal districts. He said the ECP will proceed as per the Constitution. He said the Election Commission was ready to hold polls for as many seats as have been agreed. However, he said the election schedule will be changed if new delimitation takes place through a constitutional amendment and the Commission has the powers to change the election dates.

Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri expressed support for the move and said it will address the sense of deprivation of people of the tribal districts. Mohsin Dawar of the PTM said his party was ready to bear the consequences if elections were delayed for increase in seats.