Fafen warns against proposed constitutional amendment on census

12:33 AM | 15 Nov, 2017
Fafen warns against proposed constitutional amendment on census
ISLAMABAD - The Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) has expressed serious concerns over "the ongoing efforts to amend the 1973 Constitution seeking deviation from the basic constitutional framework that requires allocation of seats among all federating units on the basis of population in accordance with the last census."

"The proposed amendment also seeks a one-off exemption from the requirement of carrying out fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of officially published census results," Fafen said in a statement.

"One-time provision is being sought to allow delimitation for the General Elections 2018 on the basis of the provisional results of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017 , which have been questioned by national and regional political parties for their accuracy and completeness."

It also demanded Fata and the Capital Territory be allocated reserved seats for women , like all other areas of the country.

According to Article 51 (5) of the constitution, the “seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the federal capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published”.

However, it warned, "the proposed amendment exempts Fata from the principle of allocating general seats to the provinces in proportion to their populations".

"The proposed amendment seeks to retain Fata’s number of NA seats at 12 (which were provided for during the General Musharraf tenure) - twice as many seats than would otherwise be allocated to it in proportion to its population.

"If this constitutional amendment is passed, Punjab will get three lesser general seats, Sindh two and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) one than what they would get if allocation is made on the basis existing provisions of Article 51 (5). In addition, seats reserved for women should also be allocated to Fata and Islamabad Capital Territory."