Lahore: Amidst a deadlock between the ruling Pakistan People's Party and main opposition PML-N over a constitutional amendment to give legal cover to recent bypolls, the government has decided to get the legislation passed even without a lack of consensus between the two. (Agencies)
"Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has returned from a two-day visit to Qatar and we will get the bill passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament if no consensus is reached with the PML-N," a senior PPP leader, who did not want to be named, said.
The 20th constitutional amendment seeks to validate more than two dozen bypolls that were held under an Election Commission which was incomplete due to non-appointment of some members.
The Supreme Court has suspended the membership of 28 members of parliament and provincial assemblies, mostly belonging to the PPP and PML-N, who were elected in these bypolls.
The court's order affected three federal ministers, including Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain.
Former Premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party has linked its acceptance of the constitutional amendment to changes to ensure the independence of the Election Commission and guarantees about the independence of the caretaker set-up that will oversee the next general election.
"We are ready to extend the tenure of four members of the Election Commission to five years, like that of the Chief Election Commissioner, but we need to evolve consensus on the independence of the caretaker set-up," the PPP leader said.
PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who is Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament, said matters might become very difficult for the ruling coalition following the suspension of some of its lawmakers in both houses of parliament.
Federal Minister Khurshid Shah, who is leading the PPP team that is holding talks with the PML-N on the constitutional amendment, said the government had accepted most of demands of the opposition, which should now show flexibility.
He said that on the caretaker set-up, "we need to listen to other parties apart from the PML-N".
Shah said the ruling coalition had a two-thirds majority in both the 342-seat National Assembly and the 100-seat Senate, which is required to pass a constitutional amendment, but would prefer forging consensus with the opposition as was done to pass the 18th and 19th constitutional amendments.
Lahore: Amidst a deadlock between the ruling Pakistan People's Party and main opposition PML-N over a constitutional amendment to give legal cover to recent bypolls, the government has decided to get the legislation passed even without a lack of consensus between the two.