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PML-N, PPP make space for smaller parties on poll reforms committee

* Ruling party gives seats to PkMAP, Ijazul Haq, Sherpao and Sheikh Rasheed * PPP accommodates Jamaat-e-Islami by giving seat to Sahibzada Tariqullah


ISLAMABAD: The ruling PML-N and opposition PPP have restricted their nominations to the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms in order to accommodate members from the smaller parties.
The 33-member parliamentary committee is yet to start functioning as it is awaits nominations from the Senate chairman, who has asked the parties in the House to submit the names of their nominees by July 24. As per the consensus reached between the National Assembly and Senate, the committee would comprise of 22 members from the former and eleven from the latter. The ruling PML-N was able to secure the majority of members from the quota of the National Assembly because of its overwhelming majority in the House. 
The party was allotted a quota of 15 members from the total of 22 for the Lower House. That did not leave space in the committee for the smaller parties. The ruling party accommodated Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) by letting its MNA Abdul Rahim Mandokhel become a member of the committee which, otherwise, could not have secured a place in it. Also, the party wanted to accommodate Ijazul Haq, Aftab Sherpao and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, all three of whom are the sole members of their respective parties in the assembly and were not in a position to be part of this committee.
All three would now be part of the committee after the ruling party conceded its seats to them, the sources said. On the other hand, the Jamaat-e-Islami was accommodated on the committee by the PPP, which agreed to give one of its seats to JI’s Sahibzada Tariqullah. Meanwhile, National Assembly speaker rejected the government’s request to extend the deadline to the committee for submission of its report by a month. The committee has been tasked to submit a report within three months after it started functioning.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has finalised its candidates for this committee from Senate. Senators Ishaq Dar, Raja Zafarul Haq, Rafiq Rajwana and Bilalur Rahman would represent the ruling party from Senate. With a majority in the Senate PPP has already okayed the names of its members for the committee. Senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani and Farooq H Naek would represent PPP along with four other senators from opposition benches in the committee.
Parliamentary sources believe that the committee would likely meet after Eid. After the notification of the committee, a big issue would be the chairmanship of the committee, which the ruling party wants for its legal wizard Zahid Hamid. However, the opposition side does not agree to Hamid’s candidature because of his controversial role in the past when he has the law minister in Shaukat Aziz government under the umbrella of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

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