Rules change may end deadlock on ECP slots.


Byline: Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD -- The stalemate on the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is set to end with a possible amendment to rules of the panel concerned which currently requires a two-thirds majority for confirmation of nominees for the positions.

'The rules made by the Parliamentary Committee which was constituted in 2011 are not binding on the existing Parliamentary Committee,' observed Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah while hearing the petitions filed against the appointment of two ECP members.

The adviser to the National Assembly on Tuesday informed the IHC that due to some procedural issues in the rules of the parliamentary committee it could not develop consensus on the names for the top ECP slots. Subsequently, the court observed that the committee might frame rules afresh to resolve the issue.

At present the ECP is virtually dormant as the posts of the CEC and two ECP members are vacant.

On Aug 22, President Dr Arif Alvi appointed Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Balochistan against the two ECP positions which fell vacant after terms of Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and retired Justice Shakeel Baloch from the respective provinces were completed.

The ECP in its written reply stated that President Alvi made these appointments 'in violation of clauses 2A and 2B of Article 213 of the Constitution'.

The IHC on Nov 4 suspended the appointments and referred the matter to the parliament. However, the parliamentary committee could not finalise the candidates for the vacant slots.

In the meantime on Dec 5, the post of the CEC also fell vacant after the retirement of retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza.

National Assembly's secretary Tahir Hussain and adviser Abdul Latif Yousafzai on Tuesday appeared before the IHC chief justice. They stated that the last meeting of the parliamentary committee could not be held because some of its members were not able to attend it due to inclement weather.

However, they stated that considerable progress had been made and some more time was required by the committee to finalise the recommendations.

Mr Yousafzai drew the attention of the court to rules made by the parliamentary committee which was constituted in 2011.

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He stated that the said rules were hampering the proceedings of the existing parliamentary committee. With the assistance of the learned adviser and the...

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