ISLAMABAD: The controversial report of Working Group of the Special Committee of the National Assembly on Delimitation of Constituencies is a perfect recipe to delay the general elections.
The special committee is expected to meet tomorrow (Thursday) to consider the recommendations of its working group amid reports that the working group’s proposals have upset many. The working group under PML-N Minister Daniyal Aziz had prepared the controversial recommendations in the absence of any opposition member, including those representing the PPP and PTI, suggesting as if the PML-N wants to delay the polls.
Daniyal Aziz, who was heading the working group, has a direct conflict of interest in this case because he lost his constituency in the recent delimitation work done by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the basis of the nlatest census. A senior PML-N leader, on condition of not being named, said that the latest delimitations have even deprived Murtaza Abbasi, Deputy Speaker National Assembly and head of the Special Committee, of his constituency in Abbottabad.
Last week, the working group under Daniyal Aziz proposed reversal of the recent constitutional amendment which was approved by the parliament to hold the general elections on the basis of the latest census. Besides seeking a detailed probe against the Election Commission on the issue of recent delimitations, the working group also recommended to file a petition before the Supreme Court to direct the ECP to rectify violations.
Interestingly, these highly controversial recommendations were formulated and finalised by the working group in its last meeting which was attended by a few PML-N MPs (including Daniyal Aziz) only. There was neither any representation from the PPP nor from the PTI in the working group when it formulated its proposals.
As the working group report made headlines in the media a few days ago, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal tweeted, “It is clarified that PML-N has not approved any report on delimitation done by ECP. There is a process for filing of objections and hearings to address the complaints. By raising unnecessary controversy some elements providing fuel for delaying polls.”
Sources said that the PML-N senior leadership is also upset with the work of Daniyal’s committee. Now what Daniyal-led working group has recommended will be placed before the Special Committee of the NA on Delimitation of Constituencies, whose meeting is likely to be held tomorrow. It is though expected that the controversial recommendations of the working group are highly unlikely to be approved by the main committee yet it has prepared some sound grounds to disrupt timely general elections. It should be mentioned here that the ECP regretted to attend the working group meetings after the elector body ruled in its last month meeting that the delimitation of constituencies is the sole mandate of the ECP. “The role of any other agency or institution is neither mentioned in the law nor is permissible under the Constitution,” the ECP ruling said, adding that if anyone is aggrieved by the Election Commission’s preliminary report on the subject, he can file a representation before it.
The ECP also ruled, “No interference in the mandate of Election Commission of Pakistan will be made by any committee or any other institution.” Under the law, the Election Commission is exclusively mandated to do the work of delimitation of constituencies.