Govt be­gins talks with Op­po­si­tion

ECP mem­bers’ ap­point­ment

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ISLAMABAD—The fed­eral govern­ment Sun­day be­gan con­sul­ta­tion with the op­po­si­tion for ap­point­ing four mem­bers of the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan (ECP). Af­ter the ECP was ren­dered in­com­plete with the re­tire­ment of its four mem­bers on June 12, the elec­toral process has been at halt across the coun­try, in­clud­ing may­oral or deputy may­oral elec­tions, bye-polls in var­i­ous con­stituen­cies and no­ti­fi­ca­tion of newly-elected par­lia­men­tar­i­ans.

The four ECP mem­bers, who re­tired from their of­fice af­ter ex­piry of their term, in­cluded Jus­tice (retd) Roshan Esani (Sindh), Jus­tice (retd) Riaz Kiyani (Pun­jab), Jus­tice (retd) Faza­lur Rehman (Balochis­tan) and Jus­tice (retd) Shahzad Ak­bar Khan (Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa).

Ac­cord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion, the ECP mem­bers are ap­pointed by the govern­ment in con­sul­ta­tion with the op­po­si­tion. As per Ar­ti­cle 13-A and B, the prime min­is­ter and op­po­si­tion leader are bound to send three names from each prov­ince to a 12-mem­ber par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee which will pick one name for ap­point­ment as ECP mem­ber from the re­spec­tive prov­ince.

The par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee must have equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of op­po­si­tion and govern­ment leg­is­la­tors, eight mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly (MNAs) and four Se­na­tors.

The Par­lia­ment has re­cently unan­i­mously passed 22nd Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment, ac­cord­ing to which a tech­no­crat can now also be ap­pointed as Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner (CEC) or ECP mem­ber.

Un­der the amend­ment, no serv­ing Supreme Court judge can serve as the act­ing CEC and, hence, the most senior ECP mem­ber in age will func­tion as the act­ing CEC if the of­fice is va­cant at any time or the CEC is ab­sent or is un­able to per­form his func­tions due to any other cause.

More­over, out of the four new mem­bers to be ap­pointed, now two would re­tire af­ter two and a half years while the rest would com­plete the five-year ten­ure. This pro­ce­dure would be adopted to en­sure that all posts of the ECP mem­bers do not fall va­cant at the same time in fu­ture.

The par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on the ap­point­ment of four mem­bers has re­cently elected In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Sen­a­tor Per­vaiz Rashid as its chair­man. The com­mit­tee con­sists of mem­bers from Pak­istan Mus­lim League-N (PML-N), Pak­istan Peo­ple’s Party (PPP), Pak­istan Tehreek-eIn­saf (PTI), Mut­tahida Qaumi Move­ment (MQM) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Is­lam-Fazl (JUI-F). The com­mit­tee is ex­pected to hold its meet­ing in next cou­ple of days. The Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner has al­ready post­poned by­elec­tions in five na­tional and pro­vin­cial assem­bly con­stituen­cies in Pun­jab and Sindh, due to the pend­ing ap­point­ment of ECP mem­bers. The con­stituen­cies, where polls have been post­poned, in­clude NA-63 (Jhelum), NA-162 (Sahi­wal), PP-232 (Ve­hari), PP240 (D.G. Khan), PS-14 and PS127 (Karachi).—NNI

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