Consensus eludes ECP members’ appointment

ISLAMABAD  –   The pending matter of appointing members of the Election Commission of Pakistan from Sindh and Balochistan may finally land in the Supreme Court.

“The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader could not reach a consensus and the parliamentary committee has equal strength of opposition and government, so the last option will be the Supreme Court to decide about the issue,” PML-N senior lawmaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi said this while talking to The Nation here on Wednesday.

There are dim chances that the over two-month old issue is resolved at the parliamentary committee level where both government and opposition have equal strength of members, Abbasi revealed.

“The members of government and opposition may not be able to finalize ECP members names due to equal strength, so the government side should at least take proceed to resolve it,” the OML-N leader said.

Abbasi said the government side should not further delay this important matter as the deadline in this regard has already been passed.

“The PTI’s government has missed the constitutional deadline for appointing the members within 45 days,” said the former deputy speaker.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif could not reach a consensus on the ECP members’ name as both have their own choices.

The ECP members Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh and Justice (retd) Shakeel Baloch from Balochistan had retired on January 26, 2019 and their replacement under the Constitution should have been done by March 12, 2019.

On the other hand, the government side has yet to make any plan for further deliberation on this matter.

Talking to The Nation, the chairperson of parliamentary committee on the appointment of the ECP members Dr. Shireen Mazari said no meeting has been summoned as yet.

Constitutional experts view that the appointment of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan from Sindh and Balochistan is a constitutional matter, which should be resolved immediately.

Shehbaz Sharif had recommended six names for the vacant seats of both the provinces totally against the names proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. For ECP member from Balochistan, he recommended the names of Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Chief Justice (Retd) Muhammad Noor Meskenzai and Muhammad Rauf Ata for their nomination.

He had also recommended the names of Justice (Retd) Abdul Rasool Memon, Khalid Javed and Justice (Retd) Noorul Haq Qureshi for their nomination as a member of the ECP from Sindh.

The prime minister, from the government side, had suggested the names of Aman Ullah Baloch (former district and sessions judge, Quetta), Munir Kakar (a lawyer) and Mir Naveed Jan Baloch (a former caretaker minister) for nomination as a member of the ECP from Balochistan.

For Sindh, he had proposed the names of Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, a lawyer; Justice (Retd) Farrukh Zia Sheikh, a former judge of the Sindh High Court; and Iqbal Mehmood, retired inspector general of Sindh, for nomination as a member of the ECP from Sindh.

Published in The Nation