Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan — currently working without two members from Sindh and Balochistan — will be without its chief soon after he retires on December 7.
Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan who assumed office on December 4, 2014, is completing his five-year term and retiring on December 7, 2019.
According to Election Commission Act, it is mandatory for the ECP to work with at least three members and after the Chief Election Commissioner’s retirement the panel will comprise of only two members — Justice (R) Altaf Ebrahim Qureshi (Member from Punjab) and Irshad Qaiser (from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
While talking to Gulf News, former Secretary of ECP Kanwar Mohammad Dilshad said the Constitution of Pakistan requires of the government and the opposition to agree on the names of Chief Election Commissioner and members within 45 days of the posts falling vacant.
However, according to Dilshad the matter will be resolved by December 6, as the Islamabad High Court has also directed the government to fill in the vacancies before retirement of its chief.
Various names have been forwarded to the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser by opposition and the government for the members of the commission and senior leaders of the both camps are going to hold parley on Monday to consider them.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif in a letter addressed to Prime Minister has proposed three names for the office of Chief Election Commissioner terming them “eminently qualified.”
The names recommended by the Opposition Leader include former DG FIA Nasir Mahmood Khosa, former ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani and ex-civil servant Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar.
“In an attempt to avoid possible discontinuity in the functioning of the ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan), which is a constitutional body, I am taking the initiative after a long wait with a hope to hear from you,” Shahbaz says in the letter.
“I would strongly urge that this time we must endeavour to avoid any such impasse by making serious, sincere and genuine effort to evolve a consensus,” the letter reads.
“It is my earnest hope that the merit of these persons will be appreciated for urgent consideration in accordance with the law. Should you require any additional information/clarification, this can be made available forthwith,” further says the opposition leader in his letter.
In another letter, Shahbaz sent recommendations for ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
Leader of the Opposition in the NA has recommended Nisar Durrani, Justice (R) Abdul Rasul Memon, and Aurangzeb Haq for the post of ECP member from Sindh whereas, for ECP Balochistan member, he proposed the names of Shah Mehmood Jatoi, Muhammad Rauf Atta and former Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Rahila Durrani.