Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah have failed to evolve consensus on members for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and have placed the entire responsibility on the Parliamentary Committee to confirm four names (one from each province) out of a total of 24.
According to country’s Constitution, if there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists (12 each nominated by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader) to the Parliamentary Committee for selecting four names (one from each province).
If consensus is evolved on the names between the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader then a total of 12 names (three from each province) would be sent to the Parliamentary Committee for confirmation of four names (one from each province) for appointments of ECP members.
With no consensus evolved between the government and the Opposition Leader, a total of 24 names [six from each province (three each nominated by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader)] would be forwarded separately to the Parliamentary Committee.
The committee would confirm four names (one from each province) for appointments of ECP members.
A meeting was held on Thursday between Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah in this regard but they failed to evolve a consensus on any name.
The process requires the government and the Opposition Leader to separately send names to the Speaker for consideration by the relevant Parliamentary Committee.
After the meeting, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told media persons that he had held as many as 10 meetings on behalf of the Prime Minister with the opposition leader on the matter of appointments of ECP members and the two have decided to send lists of names separately to the Parliamentary Committee.
He said the government would send three names each from the four provinces to the Committee same as the Opposition Leader.
He said that according to 22nd Constitutional Amendment, the members would be appointed within 45 days, a deadline which would expire on July 25.
The Finance Minister said, “We indicated today (Thursday) to the National Assembly Secretariat to fix a meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Appointments of Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday 20 July at 10:30 am and for this purpose a notice would be issued shortly.”
He said had they developed consensus then only one joint consolidated list of names from the Prime Minister and Opposition leader would have been sent to the Committee.
“Consensus was not developed and we have decided to send sealed names separately to the Speaker of the National Assembly before the close of business. The Speaker would receive the names today (Friday),” he said.
Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said the opposition parties finalised names for the ECP with consensus and added that the utmost effort was made to include the names of non-controversial figures.
He said, “We have sustained pressure and tried not to make the Election Commission controversial.”