Bill rectifying by-polls tabled in NA

The government on Wednesday tabled the 20th Constitutional Amendment bill in the National Assembly, recommending assuming incomplete Election Commission acceptable.

The bill moved by Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah recommends an amendment in Article 219 of the Constitution. It recommends to rectify a constitutional wrong, which surfaced after the election of a number of members to Parliament and provincial assemblies without meeting the criteria set in the 18th Amendment.

The bill, if passed will authorise the Chief Election Commissioner to
hold by-elections without constituting a four-member Election Commission –a mandatory requirement under the 18th Amendment.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says that in judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan dated 25-4-2011 in the Constitution Petition No 32/2009, direction was given to the Federation for constitution of an Election Commission in accordance with the amended provisions of the Constitution and certain observations were also made in the course of hearing of Constitution Petition No.31/2001, particularly with reference to by-elections, which had been conducted by the Chief Election Commissioner in the interregnum.

In order to give legal cover it has become necessary to amend the Constitution for the said purpose, the statement added.