Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to forward three names of his choice to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah today (Thursday) for appointment of a permanent Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan (ECP), it is learnt. The Prime Minister is expected to forward three names after the rejection of Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah’s application by the apex court.
Shah had sought another three months for the appointment of a permanent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The Supreme Court last Thursday directed the government to complete its consultations with the Leader of the Opposition as required under the Constitution and to ensure the appointment of a permanent Chief Election Commissioner by November 13.
Shah while talking to media on Wednesday stated the government would be responsible in case of any delay in the appointment of CEC. He said the Prime Minister has not yet contacted him to discuss the appointment of a CEC.
Opposition Leader said that Secretary ECP Ishtiq Ahmed should be granted an extension till the appointment of a permanent CEC. Answering a question, he said he would also consult with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the appointment of CEC.
Shah stated that he is leaving the country on November 9 and would return on November 24, and that he had informed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar about his departure and arrival dates.
Secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan retired on Tuesday; he has already been granted an extension twice. The Prime Minister had sought three names from Establishment Division for the appointment of Secretary ECP; however, the Establishment Division has not yet given any name to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The Provincial Election Commissioners of KPK, Sono Khan Baloch, and PEC Punjab, Mehboob Anwar, retired on Wednesday. The post of CEC is vacant for over one year. Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim was appointed as the 24th CEC of Pakistan on 14th July 2012; he served until he resigned on 31 July 2013.
Sources revealed that the government and the opposition are considering introducing a legislation that would broad-base the scope of selection of members of the Commission to include retired bureaucrats, lawyers and politicians of good repute in the list of those eligible. However, no final decision has been made because the process would take more time for the passage of legislation by the National Assembly and Senate.
The deadline of November 13 set by Supreme Court has been termed by many unrealistic since the process involves several tiers of consultations between the prime minister and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly. In addition, the opposition leader has the moral obligation to evolve a consensus on the candidate by taking other opposition parties on board. According to sources, the government and the opposition are likely to move the apex court, through the attorney general, urging it to extend the deadline for the withdrawal of the senior SC judge as acting CEC or give more time to allow the process to complete its course.
According to constitutional provisions, “The PM and opposition leader in National Assembly, through consultations, send three names for appointment of CEC to a parliamentary committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person against each post. The parliamentary committee consists of 12 members equally taken from treasury and the opposition.”
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT