Logjam on ECP appointments persists.


ISLAMABAD -- The deadlock persisted on Friday between the government and the opposition over the nomination of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and two members of the Election Commissioner of Pakistan (ECP).

The two sides held talks, facilitated by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in his chamber, but failed to reach a consensus, prolonging the constitutional crisis that has made the election commission redundant.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) remained stuck to its decision to appoint ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad as the next CEC while the opposition stressed that the acceptance of this nomination would undermine their narrative that last election was rigged.

With the retirement of CEC Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan on Dec 5, the ECP had become non-functional. Two ECP members including Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh and Justice (r) Shakeel Baloch from Balochistan had retired on January 26.

PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, who was part of the negotiations, told The Nation that there was 'almost a deadlock' as the government was sticking to appointing Babar as the next CEC.

He said that the opposition's narrative that 2018 General Elections were rigged would stand nowhere with this appointment as Babar was the ECP secretary when those elections were held. 'I personally know Babar and he is a good man but it is a matter of our narrative,' he added.

Senator Mushahid however did not rule out the possibility of government's withdrawing its nomination and expressed the hope that the deadlock would end by Monday. 'There are some indications that perhaps the government would withdraw from its stance,' he said.

Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen...

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