ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Monday, which agreed for early legislation for delimitation of constituencies.The government acknowledged right of the opposition parties to have results of the sixth census reaffirmed. All four provincial chief ministers participated in the meeting along with members of the federal government. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials told the participants of the meeting that conducting the general election in 2018 on the basis of the 1988 census would be impossible. The chief ministers of Punjab and Sindh expressed their reservations over the results of the latest census.Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said if the results were verified by a neutral third party, the province would accept its findings.Sources privy to the government have claimed that National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ayaz Sadiq telephoned senior members of political parties to take them into confidence regarding the constitutional amendment.He maintained that a solution to issues through parliament would benefit all, and hoped that other parties would show a responsible behaviour.The CCI meeting witnessed another important development as finance minister Ishaq Dar was removed as a member by President Mamnoon Hussain on PM Abbasi’s recommendation, and a formal notification was issued in this regard.Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal replaced Dar in the CCI bench to represent the federal government. It should be noted here that Dar is presently in London and undergoing treatment. Leaders of parliamentary parties in the National Assembly convened a meeting last week to deliberate over a bill on delimitation of constituencies but could not agree on the draft. However, the participants agreed that general election should be held as per the schedule, next year. The meeting was summoned by NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to strike a consensus. The parliamentary leaders discussed different suggestions to reach an understanding on the bill for new delimitation of constituencies after the sixth census was held earlier this year. The census was held after 19 years with opposition parties, mainly Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), disagreeing with the results. The PPP had earlier warned of not supporting the constitutional amendment unless the matter was moved through the Council of Common Interests.The PTI also backed PPP’s reservations in the previous meeting, while the JI had opposed the delimitation amendment and had submitted its recommendations to the House.Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2017.