No ECP’s delimitation revision plan for NA, PA constituencies; Senate told

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan on Tuesday informed the Senate that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is not revising the delimitation of constituencies of National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.

Replying to question in the Senate, he said that the last delimitation of constituencies of National Assembly and Provincial Assembles was carried out on the basis of provisional results of Population Census 2017.

He added article 51 (5) provides that such arrangements shall only be applicable to GE-2018 and bye-elections related to. The ECP has already sensitized the Federal Government, the Speaker, National Assembly and the Chairman, Senate for early publication of official results of population census.

In a written reply, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen M. Mazari said that the National Commission for Human Rights Act, 2012 was promulgated on June 5, 2012. Section 3 of the Act provides for the establishment of National Commission for Human Rights to exercise powers and functions under the Act.

Earlier, the federal government established the National Commission for Human Rights on 19th May 2015 for a period of four years which completed its term in May 2019.

In order to reconstitute new Commission for term of four years, the Ministry of Human Rights, in light of Section 4 of the Act initiated process and issued a public notice, inviting suggestions and applications for the posts of Chairperson and Members of the Commission on 29th March 2019.

Later on, the Cabinet in its meeting held on 30th July 2019 decided to re-advertise for appointment of Chairperson and Members, NCHR. Thereon, the Ministry of Human Rights issued a public notice on 22nd September 2019 for which, a total of 205 applications for the post of Chairperson, Member (Punjab), Member (Sindh), Member (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Member (Balochistan), Member (ICT), and Member (Minority) were received.

She added the scrutiny committee under the chair of Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights scrutinized the applications and tabulated suitable candidates in three categories A, B and C as per experience relating to human Rights.

Thereon, a list of suitable candidates was forwarded to the Cabinet as federal government is the Cabinet as interpreted by the Supreme Court in its judgment reported as PLD 2016 SC 808.

The Cabinet in its meeting held on 24th December 2019 considered the summary and authorized the sub-committee comprising Minister for Human Rights, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training and Minister for Aviation to scrutinize the applicants and recommend final panels for the posts of Chairperson, Members Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, ICT and Minority of NCHR, to the Prime Minister.

She said that in this connection, a meeting of the sub-committee was held on 06-01-2020 and the sub-committee recommended panels for the posts of Chairperson and Members of NCHR and summary for PM was submitted.

The Prime Minister seen the summary and pleased to observe that in term of Section 4(1) of the National Commission for Human Rights Act, 2012 and Federal Cabinet’s decision dated 24-12-2019, the Federal Minister for Human Rights shall, on behalf of the Federal Government, intimate the panels against each position to the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

However, Islamabad High Court in a writ petition No. 3316/2019 titled Ali Nawaz Chohan Vs FOP issued order on 16th January 2020 with direction that respondents are restricted from issuing a notification regarding appointment of the Chairman of the Commission and currently, the matter is pending in the Court.