Dawn, January 8, 1998

Job quota bill tabled in National Assembly

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Jan 7: Law Minister Khalid Anwar on Thursday introduced in the National Assembly the 16th Constitutional Amendment Bill to restore the regional quota system in services. The bill seeks amendment to Article 27 of the Constitution.

It said in the first proviso, clause (1) of Article 27, for the word "twenty" the word "forty" shall be substituted and shall be deemed always to have been so substituted. Through this amendment, the bill seeks to restore for further 20 years the job quota in services.

In its statement of objects and reasons, the bill stated that Article 27 of the Constitution had provided a safeguard for the citizens of Pakistan against discrimination in the services.

The statement goes on to say "but since at the time of the commencement of the Constitution all citizens did not have equal opportunities to advance in education and professional training hence it was provided that for a period of 10 years posts may be reserved for persons belonging to various areas to secure their adequate representation.

Even after the expiration of the 10 years' period, the statement said, the persons residing in various areas did not have equal opportunities in education. Thus, in 1985, the said period was extended to 20 years.

It went on to say that even today all citizens do not have equal opportunities to advance in education and professional training.

Therefore, it said, in order to provide adequate representation to persons belonging to various areas it was appropriate to make an amendment in the Constitution to extend the said period to 40 years.

According to the bill, the amendment shall maintain continuity in the reservation of posts. It said the National Assembly had already resolved unanimously on June 30, 1998, that the quota system in the country should be extended for another 20 years on a fair and equitable basis and rights of under-developed areas and minorities may be protected.