Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Senate on Tuesday approved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The bill was introduced in the House by Minister-In-Charge of Law and Justice and moved for passage.
There were 84 votes in favour of the bill and one vote against it by Senator Kamil Ali Agha.
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani read the clauses of the bill, during which the house was open to questions from lawmakers.
Senator Hafiz Hamdullah asked about the hurdles in the delay in the bill, saying that the reservations were cleared in the lower house of parliament earlier.
The other agenda items included three adjournment motions for admissibility, two motions under Rule 194 (1), two Calling Attention Notices, the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Bill, 2017 and ministerial response to a point of public importance.
The National Assembly passed this bill on November 16, 2017 with a two-third majority to consider the provisional results of census 2017 to make delimitation of constituencies for upcoming general elections 2018. A total of 233 members voted in favour of it and one member opposed it.
On Dec 11, voting on the bill was postponed for the fifth time in the Senate. On Nov 27, the bill wasn’t passed as the required number of lawmakers were not present in the house. The house of 104 needed a two-thirds majority to pass the bill whereas less than 50 lawmakers were present.
It is worth noting that two-thirds majority in the Senate, having a total strength of 104, was required to get the Constitutional Amendment passed. The government had developed consensus with main political parties in the House to attain the required strength of 69 members.
The passage of the bill will not change the 272 seats strength of the National Assembly.
The bill will decrease nine National Assembly seats (seven general and two women seats) of the most populous Punjab province, and will increase five seats (four general and women seats ) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three seats of the largest province of Balochistan (two general, one women seats) and one of federal capital.
The number of NA seats for Sindh province and FATA will remain the same.